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Liberia Religious Council Raises Funds to Rebuild Burnt Churches, Mosques

The Inter Religious Council of Liberia is making an effort to help facilitate the reconstruction of churches and mosques that were burnt or vandalized during last week violence in the Liberian capital
( [email protected] ) Nov 06, 2004 12:13 PM EST

The Inter Religious Council of Liberia is making an effort to help facilitate the reconstruction of churches and mosques that were burnt or vandalized during last week violence in the Liberian capital of Monrovia and its suburbs. The decision by the religious council to help rebuild the mosques and churches was reached at a meeting held Wednesday at the Monrovia City Hall.

Last weekend, Liberia witnessed the worst violence since the civil war ended last year, as riots in Monrovia left sixteen people dead and 200 wounded.

According to the Secretary General of the Religious Council, Rev. Christopher Toe, the religious leaders, realizing the wanton destruction done to their institutions by bandits, have agreed to contribute toward the reconstruction of the affected Churches and Mosques.

The acting President of the Religious Council, Shaikh Kafumba Konneh, cautioned religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, to always meet and discuss important issues of the their faith and the Country.

He said religious leaders should not wait until matters get out of hand before coming together to find solution.

According to sources, last weekend’s violence began as a land dispute but quickly escalated into widespread rioting.

Charles Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA), who recounted the violent clashes over the weekend, blamed the incident on individuals whom he called "hooligans, vandals, and looters."

"Through act of looting, vandalism, and arson, churches, mosques, schools, gas stations and private homes, including homes of three cabinet ministers were set ablaze," Bryant said.

During a Wednesday NTLA briefing on the state of affairs, Bryant noted, "There is no religious war in our country. What we have are persons who, for various reasons, are not prepared to see us return to democratic governance."

He maintained that Christians and Muslims have coexisted over the years peacefully and therefore said he considered the recent disturbance "a dangerous precedence, which every Liberian should condemn."

So far the Religious Council, which comprises both Muslim and Christian leaders, has raised an initial $85,000 LRD ($1,800 USD) to facilitate the reconstruction of the Churches and Mosques.

During the Council's meeting, four committees were set up, including a Trust Fund Committee, an Assessment Committee, an Inquiry Committee and a Counseling Committee.