President Adama Barrow has reaffirmed the commitment of his government to the promotion and advancement of religious tolerance and equality in the country. At a meeting in Bwiam, Foni Kansala, as part of the ongoing nationwide tour, the President said from the onset, the government has always adhered to the practice of religious freedom and equality for all people of faith, including non-believers, as guaranteed by the constitution of the Gambia.
”We have different kinds of faith groups in this country, including atheist and followers of the African Traditional religion. We do not discriminate against any one religion because they are all part of my family, the Gambian family. All religions are equal in this country and I treat everyone equally. Even in my Cabinet, I have Christians that I have so much respect for”.
While saying that all religions and faith groups are safe to practice and have been catered for in the development strides of the government, President Barrow reemphasized that ”we are one people, and that tribes and ethnicities are not important”.
He added that he would remain committed to strengthening the secular republican status of the country, pointing out that was why within one week of assuming power, he reversed the declaration of Islamic statehood that was proclaimed over the republic by the former regime.
President Adama Barrow made these statements in response to what he called ”detractors and hate mongers” that are bent on planting the seeds of religious discord and conflict in the minds of unsuspecting Gambians by twisting his comments about the Barrow Youths for National Development.
Clarifying that funds from the Brussels conference will not be used by any non-government organization to promoting any one religion, he said the speculators and hate peddlers deliberately picked on the mosques construction issue to bring misunderstanding in the public. The President said he was shocked to learn in the media that he was engaged in promoting one religion against others or threatening Christian minorities.
Addressing the issue of the Barrow Youth Movement for National Development, he described them as a youth group that meaningfully wants to support his government’s development agenda. He was quite unequivocal in stating that he would embrace any other organization or individual that is serious about supporting progress and development of the country.
“I am open to anyone who wants to join me in national development. It’s in that spirit that we provided vehicles for all National Assembly Members, including the opposition, to honor and dignify the national office that they occupy. The vehicles would facilitate their movement and they don’t have to join passenger vehicles to get to work”.