…U.S. Diplomat Says At Imam Annual Assembly
By Jimmey C. Fahngon
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy near Monrovia Sam Watson has stated that Liberia faces challenging times, with the economy in recession.
He said the high level of poverty and unemployment possibly contribute to political divisions in the country.
Mr. Watson spoke Sunday at the opening of the third annual assembly of the National Imam Council of Liberia.
The Assembly is being held at the Unity Mosque in the Fish Market community.
The U.S. diplomat said “I believe that if Liberia can act as one community to democratically and peacefully elect a new government, it will have a clear path ahead to achieve its development goals and deliver increasing prosperity and opportunity to the Liberian people.”
Mr. Watson said as Liberia faces these challenging times, it is important for spiritual leaders such as the National Imam Council to inspire their communities in particular, the younger generation to seek constructive ways to contribute to society and put aside rhetoric that encourages division, adding ‘this vision holds true for the leaders of all religions in Liberia.”
He told the gathering that the upcoming elections are an opportunity for Liberians to ask that presidential candidates put forward a vision of unity, peace, and democracy and to elect a leader who will carry Liberia towards the future.
Watson said presidential candidates would do well to echo “your words of enlightening the nation; inspiring the generation. In their actions and their words, politicians must be careful to avoid contributing to division and violence.”
He said politicians must actively work to promote national unity and demand a peaceful process even while they compete for votes.
Mr. Watson: “They must think carefully about their policies to promote reform, inclusiveness and tolerance. And when there is division, they must seek common ground to bridge those gaps.”
He said the United States will stand with Liberia as it prepares for the transition of power from one elected government to another elected government.
For his part, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, who served as keynote speaker said it is the responsibility of every Liberian to ensure that Liberia remains peaceful and stable.
He said the time has come for everyone to work together in the interest of Liberia irrespective of religious, political or tribal background.
Over 75 Imams from all over Liberia are attending this year’s annual assembly.
He assured the Imam Council of his continuous support and commitment to work with it.
Earlier, the National Chief Imam of Liberia Sheikh Ali Krayee said Muslims in Liberia have been denied their rights over the years.
However, he said the time has come for Muslims to be given equal rights just like their Christian brothers and sisters.
Imam Krayee said Liberia does not have the luxury of time to delay giving Muslims their just rights.