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LIHEDE Press Statement

On Recent Religious Violence in Monrovia

Greensboro, (November 3, 2004):—The Liberian History, Education, and Development, Inc. (LIHEDE) is deeply concerned with and disturbed by news of recent communal violence in Monrovia involving members of the Liberian Christian and Moslem communities. We are especially saddened by the turn of events and growing tensions between two of Liberia ’s foremost religious communities, which have heretofore lived together in relative peace and prosperity throughout Liberian history during Liberia ’s two brutal civil wars between 1990 and 2003.

LIHEDE is equally saddened by the fact the violence occurred just as Liberians inside and outside the United States had gathered in Greensboro, North Carolina to map out appropriate strategic for national development and peaceful coexistence in Liberia by way of a symposium on “Civil Liberties, Collective Security, and Development in Post-Conflict Liberia.” It is therefore our hope persons involved in the violence would cease immediately and channel their grievances through dialogue geared toward promoting and sustaining the civil liberties and collective security of all Liberians.

As Liberia is slowly recovering from 14 years of two brutal civil wars, the need exists for all Liberians to work together in the rebuilding of Liberia instead of prolonging the suffering of the Liberian people through another senseless civil or religious war. LIHEDE therefore deplores the recent waves of property destructions and the senseless loss of human life and injuries to innocent bystanders and other persons as result of tragic events started on October 29, 2004 .

Accordingly, LIHEDE would like to join with all peace loving Liberians in calling for an end to the communal violence and a swift investigation into the matter by the Liberian government. We also believe that the government should take steps to apprehend and punish persons found guilty of perpetrating the recent violence in Monrovia . But at the same time we want to challenge the Liberian government to institute equitable and systemic reforms that would guarantee both the national security of the nation, and the collective security of all Liberians.

We also call on all Liberian civil, political and religious organizations to offer whatever moral and financial assistance to the victims of the violence and their families to help them resettle anew. We also call on leaders of the Liberian Muslim and Christian communities, as well as political and civil leaders of Liberia to take steps that would prevent such religious violence in the future.

Syrulwa Somah, Ph.D.

Executive Director, LIHEDE.





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