According to Senator Johnson, the new bill is seeking to make Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (Abraham Day) national holidays in Liberia.
Islam in Liberia is practiced by an estimated 29.5% of the population, while the vast majority of Liberian Muslims are Malikite Sunni, with sizeable Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities. The primary Muslim ethnic groups are the Vai, Mandingo, Gbandi, Kpelle and other ethnic groups.
The former rebel general cum Evangelist pointed out that the bill has been sent to committee room for review. It will be forwarded to plenary for further deliberations and enactment.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, August 26, 2016, the Nimba County Senator said when the bill is passed into law it will enhance religious tolerance, cohesiveness, and strengthen national reconciliation.
He asserted that it was totally wrong for one religion to have domineering and enjoy holidays whilst other religions are denied in a country considered a secular state by law.
Senator Johnson observed that due to the failure of current and past governments to legislate law in favor of other religions in the country to have national holidays, is one of the factors for conflict in Liberia.
He promised to ensure the passage of the bill into law.
Notwithstanding, many Muslims have criticized Senator Johnson for his proposal and urged the Nimba Senator to first rebuild all Mosques he destroyed during the war before sponsoring a bill for Muslim holidays in Liberia.
Imam Lahai Kamara of the Jacob Town Mosque said Senator Johnson’s action is politically calculated to seek votes from the Muslim community, but he is not in the category of those the Muslims in Liberia are considering for the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections.
The Islamic Clergyman accused Senator Johnson of killing thousands of Mandingoes and Vai people for being a Muslim and he has not apologized for his action.
According to the 2008 National Census, 85.5% of Liberia’s population practices Christianity, while Muslim comprised 12.2% of the population, largely coming from the Mandingoes and Vai ethnic groups.
The vast majority of Muslims are Malikite Sunni, with sizeable Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities, while traditional indigenous religions are practice by 0.5% of the Liberia’s population, while 1.8% subscribed to non-religion according to National Census report in 2008.