Liberian Business Executive Identifies With Families of Red Light Mosque Fire Victims

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Businesswoman Leelai Kpukuyou making a cash donation of L$266,000 to families of victims of the Madrassah Islamic School fire disaster at the 17th Street Mosque on Sunday, December 1, 2019

Monrovia – A Liberian business executive, Leelai Kpukuyou, has made a cash presentation of L$266,000 to families of victims of the Islamic School fire disaster.

On September 18, 26 students and two teachers of the Islamic Madrassah School near the commercial district of Red Light in Paynesville died in a fire outbreak. Police later said the fire was caused by electric shocks.

Since the incident, Liberians from all walks of life have expressed grief and sympathies.

The latest to identify with the families is Madam Kpukuyou, a former executive of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA).

Making the presentation at the United Duwah Ummah Mosque on 17th Street Sinkor on Sunday, Kpukuyou said she was in the United States and launched a social media campaign to raise fund to sympathize with the victims who have been going through the most difficult times of their lives.

According to her, she had intended to raise US$25,000 but was only able to realize US$1,588, from friends and sympathizers across the world, with US$1,533 being remitted to her.

The Liberian business executive, speaking further to the victims’ families noted that although no amount of money or material donation would bring back their lost loved ones, the gesture is a sign of love, empathy and solidarity from her and friends.

 “We bring you the sympathies of many other families and friends from across the world who have helped with their widow’s might. It is not about the money but it is to show that we are in solidarity with you,” she said.

“The sorrow and grieve you live with is not for few days. That’s why after I sat and cry and cry, I came across a question on Facebook that said ‘beyond those entire have my sympathies, how can we help? I went ahead and set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ on my page and within one hour, a thousand dollars was raised.”

She added that the tragic incident in September and the response the public indicate that there is a need for tolerance and unity.

“We should not be fast as a people to create a divide among us. We are one people. So, when one of us is hurt, we all should come together and help console.”

Receiving the fund on behalf of the families, the Deputy Chief Imam Alhassan Sow thanked Madam Kpukuyou and friends for their love and solidarity.

He said although the death of the children and their teachers was unfortunate, it has severed as a bridge in closing the gap between the Muslims and Christians.

Imam Sow said the outpouring of grief and sympathies from the entire country –ranging from the office of the President down to ordinary citizens were highly appreciated by the Islamic community, and it is a clear testament that Liberians are united.

“The death of these children, as unfortunate as it is, indicates something to us. It shows us that there is solidarity and the unity and the brotherhood that is existing among us is real,” he noted.

“The gap that once existed between the Christian and Muslim has been removed. People abandoned their time, gave their money, the government and the President, Vice President and the Legislature all came here and have been sympathizing with us. When the President went to the UN, it was his first statement at the UN. It indicates that we are one brothers and sisters.”

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