The Movement from Islamic Holidays in Liberia, a group comprising students, says it will present a petition to the Legislature next Tuesday, August 2, requesting the legislature to enact into law Islamic holidays in the country.
The students said they will gather at the Capitol Building on Tuesday, to petition the government of Liberia through the National legislature to enact into law two major Muslim festivals as national holidays. Ramadam Day and Eid al-Adha (Abraham Day), are the two festivals that will be presented in the group’s request.The proposed holiday advocacy according to them is not a new phenomenon and has been made since 1995, but has not been realized.
“While we call on the government of Liberia through our legislators to with immediate effect legislate our two major festivals as national holidays, we also call on all Muslims in Liberia to close down their offices or businesses, pack their cars, close gas stations, media, and other institutions from 11:00 Am to 11:00 PM on Tuesday, July, August 2, during our petition,” they said.
The shutting down of businesses on August 2, the group said will serve as a wakeup call to their plight which “has been denied by national leaders”.
Addressing a news conference Monday, the President of UL Muslim Student Association Abdullah Dauda Swary argued that the constitution under Article 14 provides for the separation of religion and state: “All persons are entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, except as required by law to protect public safety, order, health, morals, or the right of others.”
Swary said a competitive analysis of Liberia to other West African Nations, Muslims see it as a clear violation of their fundamental right to be denied Islamic Holidays.“While there are several National Holidays, it will interest you to know that the Muslim community does not have a single holiday dedicated to Muslims, which is contrary to the constitution,” he said.
Swary at the same time named among other things severe scrutiny of Muslims in acquiring national documents, humiliation, and obstacles of Muslim women during voter registration as bad practicing hampering their co-existence as citizens in the country.