By: H. Richard Fallah
MONROVIA: With barely a little over five (5) months to the much-talked about Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia, the United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia has encouraged Muslims leaders in the country help maintain the peace and stability of the country.
Speaking recently at program marking the induction ceremony of the newly elected officials of the “National Muslim Council of Liberia,” in Monrovia, Ambassador Michael McCarthy cautioned the Islamic leaders to ensure that the upcoming elections are freed of violence and chaos.
The outgoing US Ambassador said the Muslim Community holds an advantage point in Liberia as evidenced by their strength in several businesses including transportation, legal profession, petroleum products and whole dealership.
Ambassador McCarthy pointed out that “Muslim leaders should use their influence to make sure that the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections do not derail the democratic gains Liberia has made over the years.”
The US diplomat has been very concerned about the upcoming elections, as he continues to highlight the importance of Liberians going the polls on October 10, 2023 in an atmosphere of peace.
On March 14, 2023, Ambassador McCarthy condemned violence that occurred at the University of Liberia Capitol Hill campus, which left several persons injured and normal learning activities disrupted.
The U.S Ambassador, during a roundtable discussion with State Department’s Global Anti-Corruption Coordinator, Richard Nephew; and USAID’s Anti-Corruption Task Force Executive Director, Shannon Green, says violence of any kind has no place in a democratic society.
He said Violence does nothing but undercuts one`s own credibility and will only take a country backwards.
Ambassador McCarthy said disagreements and competing visions for the country should be solved through peaceful debate and at the ballot box, not on the streets.
“I am speaking directly at politicians, student groups, and citizens across the country when I say that violence of any kind has no place in a democratic society, he noted.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of President George Weah at the Muslim Leaders induction ceremony, Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf, who is also a Muslim, thanked the peaceful conduct of the transfer of power in the National Muslim Council.
He re-affirmed President Weah’s commitment in respecting freedom of religion and assured them of government’s sincerity in holding peaceful and transparent elections.
Minister Sirleaf thanked the outgoing leadership for of the National Muslim Council of Liberia for a job well done, including the decentralization of the council, the adoption of a new constitution, and vision for the future.
For his party, the newly installed Chairman of the National Muslim Council of Liberia, Sheik Abraham Sheriff, cautioned Muslims across the country to be more active in the activities of the organization.
According to him, the National Muslim Council of Liberia can only make progress when the Muslims in the country supportive of its activities.
Sheik Sheriff promised to use his tenure in building on what his predecessors have achieved over the years.
He thanked Saudi Arabia, the United States of America (USA), and former and present officials of the Liberian government for gracing the occasion and promised that they, as leaders in the Muslim Community will definitely help in maintaining the peace in the country.
Others inducted at the occasion include: Mohamed Konneh, Vice Chairman for Administration; Abduraman Sow, Vice Chairman for Operations; Kuku Reeves, Secretary General; Anna Sheriff, Vice Chairperson for Women Affairs among others.
The occasion was graced by a large number of people including former and present officials of government, delegation from Saudi Arabia, members of the diplomatic corps, among many others.