Prelates Differ With Senator Snowe On Religious Holidays

Two renowned prelates are in disagreement on attempts by Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe of Bomi County to push for the legislation of three religious holidays in Liberia.

In a social media post at the weekend, Senator Snowe declared: “This week, I will be introducing three landmarks legislations on the floor of the Liberian Senate. I hereby call on my colleagues in the legislature as well as the general public to give these legislations their fullest support for passage.”

He named them as “An Act Making Easter Monday a Public Holiday; An Act Making Eid al-Adha (Abraham’s Day) a public Holiday and An Act Making Eid al-Fitr (End of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Festival of Breaking Fast) a Public Holiday.”

But Bishop John Allen Klayee of the Jubilee Praise and Worship Center differed via his Facebook page and accused the lawmaker of “been fighting the Church for long.”

Bishop Klayee added the Church is not campaigning for any holiday for which Senator Snowe wants to push for an act making Easter Monday a public holiday.

For his part, Bishop Gardea Johnson of the Restoration Baptist Church said, “Mr. Lawmaker, we do not need any holiday and nobody asked you for Easter’s holiday. That level of deception is unacceptable!!”

During the regime of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, then Senators Joyce Musu Freeman-Sumo of Montserrado County and John Ballout of Maryland County embarked on similar campaign to legislate a Muslim holiday but since then, such document has been lingering at the Capitol Building.

The debate for a Muslim holiday resurfaced after the National Chief Imam of Liberia, Sheikh Ali Krayee, on Thursday, May 13, reiterated his call on the Government for a Muslim holiday and emphasized that Liberia will never have peace until Muslims holiday is given.

Chief Sheikh Krayee, in his message to over hundreds of his Muslim brothers and sisters at the occasion making the celebration of the Eid (climax of the Holy month of Ramadan) in Monrovia, said they observed the day in Liberia with a heavy heart where the government is yet to grant them a national holiday.

Delivering his Eid-al-Fitr khutba at the Central Mosque on Benson Street in Monrovia, Chief Sheikh Krayee said it is hypocritical to call for peace in a state where Muslims live as second-class citizens.  He also indicated that it is a complete hypocrisy for people to bring bags of rice to Muslims during Ramadan when they are refusing to meet the demand of Muslims.  “Take the bags of rice and cows and give us a holiday,” he repeated.

He said the Muslim communities’ pressure on the Liberian state to give them a holiday will remain unbending until it happens, and they strongly believe it will be soon.

Chief Sheikh Krayee said: “We are painfully commemorating today’s end of Ramadan, knowing that our compatriots, the government in particular, have chosen to ignore our call for Islamic holiday in this country, when we speak it is as though we are noise makers or trouble makers.”

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