Monrovia - Lofa County District #4 Representative Mariamu Fofana has called on Liberians, especially the Muslims community, not to panic because someone is trying to hinder their religious rights. Fofana’s comments come in the wake of series of protest that characterized the start of the National Constitution Review conference, which is being held in Gbarnga, Bong County.
A group of clergymen and women from the Christian community staged a protest on Monday, March 30, calling for the Christianization of Liberia. Addressing a news conference Wednesday at her Capitol Building office in Monrovia, Rep. Fofana said article 14 of the Liberian Constitution gives everyone the right to practice their religion.
Fofana said: “Of course, there are lots of people who are saying that Liberia was founded on Christian principles, so is the motto, the love of liberty brought us here. So it (love of liberty) brought people here, but it also met people here. Before Christianity, there were other religions that were in existence in Liberia.”
The Lofa County lawmaker said, since the introduction of Christianity in Liberia, Christians, Muslims and the traditional people have co-existed peacefully. She added that the crafters of the 1986 constitution were very wise in ensuring that no state religion was established in order for people to peacefully co-exist in Liberia.
Continued Fofana: “We just want to especially call on the Muslim community and other people that have concerns, that this government under Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured all Liberians of equal protection under the law and that everybody’s rights will be protected.”
“People will be free to practice their religion. This is just not about the Christians. The traditional people are also very concerned, because sooner or later there will be a border line where some of these Christian practices will border our traditional practices and there would be chaos.” Rep. Fofana said Liberia’s peace and security is primary above all things, calling on both sides (Christians, Muslims) to exercise restraint and remain law abiding.
Rep. Fofana said it is unnecessary to change the secular nature of Liberia, adding that Liberia being a secular state has had no negative impact on the country. She said it is the responsibility of the Government to educate the public about the ongoing Constitution Review process, which will give a clear understanding of what is actually happening in Gbarnga.
“I think the spread of religion should be left with religion leaders to come and handle that,” she said. “I encourage our pastors, our men of God, to go and win more souls to come to Christ or to come to the religion of Islam or the traditional people to continue to protect our culture and our tradition. That should not be the business of the state.”