Islam and Democracy: Lesson form Liberia - decades a go Muslim Liberians were engaged in trade and commerce at the disadvantage of getting involve in political decisions and participation. Democratice values and principles were of less interest to them but rather were left to the so-called political actors which were basically the minority elites that ruled Liberia for over 100 years. Education of the muslim youths particularly girls was not a priority thereby violating the human right of these under privilleged muslim youth. Culture was another major factor based on perceived convictions and principles that formal education breeds violence, chaos and distrust with implications to undermine social cohesion and reconciliation. While these perceptions and convictions took over the issues of modernity bodered on democracy for years, there have been notable changes in the last two decades or so in Liberia amongst the muslims. A resposnible factor is the tast of political power in the state by few educated muslims which has laid to a paradigm change, as well as a change of perceptions to an extent. However, another dimension has been the clash of religious supremacy which is deeply rooted in the concept of "who is and who is not" a Liberian in the context of identity, thereby adatping "religious and ethnic divides". If the identity crisis is not addressed in Liberia, the issues of post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation will increasingly undermine islam and democracy. This can be futher explored in details.
I quite sure that the paradigm you are taking has some strong bases, but the Islam and democracy in Liberia discussion is a giant step in the right direction. I am a Liberian Mandingo and a muslim presently living in Liberia, but prior to 2009, I was forced to leave Liberia due to the civil war from one refugee camp to another, and lastly found myself in America. Islam and Democracy in Liberia need a empirical research and analystical understanding of the root causes ofhate toward muslim in Liberia and the socialeconomic boast of Liberian Muslims contribution.