Liberia: Grand Mufti Sumaworo Visits US Embassy, Appreciates Amb. McCarthy for Recognizing Muslims Community
MONROVIA – The Grand Mufti of the Supreme Council of Fatwa in Liberia and his delegation on Thursday, July 22, 2021, held a meeting with the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy at the invitation of the Ambassador at the US Embassy near Monrovia.
The meeting according to the US Ambassador is part of his meeting with major stakeholders in the country as part of his diplomatic mission in Liberia.
Speaking at the meeting, Mufti Abubakar Sumaworo lauded the US Embassy for the invite and his recognition of the Muslim community as part of his broad-based meeting with stakeholders in the country; something he said will go a long way in enhancing the already existing relationship between the US Government and the people of Liberia.
Mufti Sumaworo reiterated the Muslim community in Liberia’s commitment to peace and religious harmony in the country despite the challenges facing the Muslim community; maintaining that the Muslims in Liberia believe in moderation and do not accept violence in the resolution of their disenchantment with the government.
“Our prophet Mohammed encouraged us to embrace the diversity of all mankind irrespective of their religion, color or ethnicity and discouraged all forms of violence and we continue to teach this doctrine of peace in all Islamic schools in the country,” Mufti Somaworo stated.
He appealed to the US Government for its continued support to the government and people of Liberia to ensure the growth and development of the country. He further added, “It is our moral obligation to seek support for the country in these challenging social, economic problems facing the country amidst the devastating coronavirus.”
At the same time, the Grand Mufti of the Supreme Islamic Council of Fatwa in Liberia also named religious discrimination and the continued land dispute in the country as major conflict-sensitive areas that the US Government should help the Liberian Government in resolving.
“Help our government in solving the land situation in the country, we have good laws in this country, but implementation and the judiciary is responsible for some of the problems in finding a solution to conflict-sensitive areas,” he said.
Speaking to the years of the campaign for Islamic holidays by the Muslim Community, Mufti Sumaworo urged the US Embassy to join the Muslims in asking stakeholders in the country to grant Muslims their two holidays.
Mufti Sumaworo indicated that Muslims in Liberia will not use violence in obtaining their religious holidays, but will continue to engage the government diplomatically and its partners as a means for peacefully acquiring their rights as prescribed by law.
Mufti Sumaworo revealed that schools continue to deny Muslim Students their religious rights by scheduling test and others exams on Eid days; something that normally place Muslim students in situation of deciding between their education and their religious rights.
The recent decision by the Ministry of Education and the West African Examination Council to schedule its test in Eid is an example of the gravity of the situation but stated that the date was changed following protest by Muslim Students.
“We should not wait for our children to get angry and get on the streets before you look into our matters,” he said.
In the area of Education, Mufti Sumaworo pleaded with the US Government to support Islamic Schools across the country by helping them provide quality education to the future generation of the country in order to prepare them for the governance of the country.
He maintained that Muslim Schools are in great need for the US Government assistance to the educational sector of the country including support in the area of training Imams and religious leaders across the country.
On the issue of the called for War Crimes Court in Liberia, Mufti Sumaworo called for justice to be accorded to the victims of the Civil War and called for the review of the TRC report and subsequent implementation.
Responding to the comments of the Mufti, US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy lauded the Mufti for honoring his invitation and stressed the importance of peace and harmony among various groups in the country.
Ambassador McCarthy explained that people in many countries used religions and tribes to cause disharmony by splitting the people at their advantage, but lauded Mufti Sumaworo for his years of advocacy for peace and tolerance in the country.
He named their level of religious tolerance in the Republic of Eritrea as an example of how Muslims and Christians can live in harmony side by side without conflict.
The US Ambassador promised to look into the Mufti’s request for support to Islamic Schools across the country indicating that the Embassy provides textbooks to the Ministry of Education and sees the possibility of extending that to other institutions.
Ambassador McCarthy speaking on the issue of the Islamic holiday and the Mufti’s quest for more Muslim representation in government asked Muslims to fight politically for their rights; noting that 12 percentage the Muslim population in the country is a strong voting bloc for consensus with politicians seeking your support.
“Talk to your politicians, you have the right to fight for your right politically, twelve percent is a very big voting bloc’ if they promised you and don’t do it, hold them accountable, you are a powerful voting bloc the Ambassador told the Mufti.
The American Ambassador praised the Mufti for being moderate in his advocacy for Islamic Holidays by asking for Schools and others to allow Muslims to the opportunity to observe their religious holidays pending a decision on the provision of Islamic Holidays by law.
The Grand Mufti and US Ambassador also discussed other issues including the fight against the Coronavirus, Corruption and other governance areas important to the growth and development of the country.
The Ambassador urged the Mufti to encourage the Muslim Community to take the Coronavirus vaccine and prevent themselves by following the health protocols, but the Mufti in response indicated that it was his priority to help eradicate the virus from the country and however wants the government to provide assurance about the safety of the vaccine before telling his followers to take it.