Caliph Hydara’s trial progresses


The caliph and the alkalo are on trial for disobedience of lawful order by not observing the Muslim feast of Eid-ul-Adha on the state-sanctioned day, a charge they denied.

While being cross-examined by defence lawyer Lamin Mboge, the police officer said he was aware that Muhideen Hydara by virtue of his position, holds a strong influence not only over sheriffs but the entire Muslim ummah in The Gambia.

Testifying before Principal Magistrate Cham, he said: “I know that imams in The Gambia observe tobaski and koriteh prayers on different day but I do not know that of other countries. People did not even observe the past tobaski on the same day and I am not aware of the arrest of people for observing be it tobaski or koriteh on different days in The Gambia and it is not stipulated in the constitution for people to observe prayers on the same day. I was not aware of the announcement on the radio that people should observe the past tobaski on the same day or whether it was an executive order, an order from the court or from the National Assembly, who makes laws.”   


Saidykhan also told the court that he did not know the message sent by the district headchief to Darsilami Sangajor and that it is beyond his knowledge to say that the chief has the power to compel the imams or religious leaders to observe prayers on a particular day.

“All I know about this case was in connection with the observance of tobaski on different days. And it is above my knowledge to say apart from God who the accused persons were praying to. I am a Muslim and whether I pray or not is between me and my Lord and when I pray, I only pray to Allah as He commands all His creatures to worship Him alone and it is not an offence to pray on different days.”

At that point, Lawyer Mboge informed the court that he had finished his cross-examination and described the witness as a ‘truthful witness’ but the police prosecutor applied for an adjournment to enable him to call his next witness. Hearing resumes December 9.