Sanniquellie Central Mosque Opens to the Public

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Hundreds of Islamic clerics, worshippers, and curious viewers from across Liberia converged in Sanniquellie to dedicate what is arguably the most extravagant mosque in the country, the newly constructed Sanniquellie Central Mosque.

The mosque was constructed by the Sanniquellie Development Fund, a non-profit organization whose members are Muslims from Sanniquellie based in the U.S., Europe, and other African countries. The three-member project team estimated the mosque’s construction at US$288,000 but said a more precise cost would be disclosed after compiling their financial records.

Speaking at the dedication on Saturday, May 18, the chairman of the project management team, Noah Sanoe, said the construction took two years, which is relatively short. He pointed out that most mosque construction in the subregion can go for up to 30 years because contractors handling the construction usually misuse the funds.

“The common reason for the prolonged delay in completing the construction of mosques is because the contractors can’t use the money for the intended purpose, but my team used the money given to us for the intended purpose,” he said.

Sanoe said the mosque construction is the first of several projects his team intends to undertake in Sanniquellie; he disclosed plans to construct the Sanniquellie Islamic High School in the next two years.

L-r: Karamo Kromah, secretary; Noah Sanoe, chairman; and Abraham Kamara, financial secretary of the Project Management Team. Photo: Jerry Myers

The team said their projects in Sanniquellie are part of a rising awareness among Africans in the Diaspora about investing in impactful projects in Africa.

Before the groundbreaking ceremony for the mosque’s construction, Sanoe said the group had already raised US$120,000 in cash, which showed the seriousness of the organizers.

Those attending the dedication ceremony included Vice President Jeremiah Koung, Nimba’s Sen. Prince Y. Johnson, Rep. Musa Hassan Bility of Nimba’s seventh district, Rep. Nyah G. Flomo of Nimba’s second district, Tiawan Saye Gongloe, and Labor Minister Cooper Kruah.

In brief remarks, Vice President Koung hailed Sanniquellie Muslims residing abroad for the initiative and said he regrets not contributing to the project because the project management team did not contact him.

Koung challenged diaspora Muslims from other cities in Nimba to embark on a similar initiative to bring unity among Muslims in those cities.

The Liberian vice president, a professed Christian, observed that Christianity and Islam have many similarities. He stressed the need for people of both faiths to live harmoniously.

He said the convergence of Christians and Muslims in the mosque for such an occasion is the unity he wishes to see in Nimba and Liberia.

“I am grateful that we are all in the mosque together today; no matter which religion you belong to, we are all here,” Koung said. “Whether you believe in God, you don’t believe in God, we are all in here.”

Koung drew attention to the numerous land crises in Nimba, which have often been divided along religious and tribal lines. He promised to become involved in solving those disputes to promote unity in Nimba.

Worshippers pray after the mosque’s dedication. Photo: Jerry Myers

Meanwhile, expressing pride in what he called “the most beautiful mosque” in Liberia, Rep. Bility said Nimbaians’ strength is in their unity.

Bility called on Sanniquellie Muslims to consider opening the doors of the planned Sanniquellie Islamic High School to non-Muslims. The Muslim lawmaker observed that Muslims are less integrated into Liberia society partly because other Liberians are not integrated within Islamic institutions.

He noted that many Muslims have been educated in Christian schools across Liberia, and he challenged the Sanniquellie Muslims to do the same to propagate the messages of Islam.

Bility said acceptance of the Islamic faith is dependent on how people who are not members are treated by those who are members.

Featured photo by Jerry Myers

Jerry Myers

Jerry T. Myers, Jr. is a student of the Nimba County Community College, studying Natural Resource Management. Since 2008, Jerry has worked in the media sector, including at the Voice of Tappita community radio station, ELBC Radio, Radio Nimba, and New Public Trust Media Group. He is the current secretary-general of the Nimba Community Radio Association and a full member of the Press Union of Liberia.

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