By Amadou Jadama
The former president of Rawdatul Majaalis has called on his fellow Muslim leaders to stop attacking one another and refrain from anything that will incite religious unrest in the country.
Baba Drammeh, who is now the Imam Ratib of Sintet in Foñi Jarrol, spoke exclusively to The Standard at his residence in Brikama as religious tension rises in The Gambia.
Imam Drammeh said it is “most undesirable” for Islamic leaders to trade harsh words that have the potential to spark religious unrest.
“Things are escalating, and really, it is a cause for concern because you cannot predict how violence will end. You hear some of the preachers even threatening each other’s lives. It is very terrible,” Imam Drammeh said. “It is only Muslims who are attacking one another in this country. Christians have different denominations but we never hear them attacking each other.”
A seasoned diplomat, Imam Drammeh said there is no shortage of topics for Gambian preachers to talk about. “We have new converts who joined us in Islam. The preachers should teach those people how to worship Allah and to promote Islam in our society, and also to convert more non-Muslims to Islam. We also have prostitutes, youths dealing in drugs, drinking alcohol, breaking people’s houses and stealing their property, killing and other evil things. You should talk about those things and preach them to quit and become good Muslims, instead of attacking true Muslims on subsidiary issues,” he said.
On the contentious issue of Ahmadis, Imam Drammeh called for religious coexistence.
“As far as I am concerned, I believe in religious tolerance. Even if we have different opinions, I will not blame you. But in my opinion, we Muslims, should try to promote peace and peaceful co-existence at any level,” he urged. “We are all Gambians and I cannot determine whether you are going to hell or heaven. Nobody knows that except Allah. Let us try and live together in peace and harmony and mutual understanding. Let us follow the traditions of our forefathers; the way they built Islam in this country is marvelous.”
Drammeh also spoke on the condition of imams in the country, arguing that the religious leader deserve more recognition and help from the public.
“The imams in this country are doing lot of things. Every important event, the imams are called upon to take care of it like the naming ceremonies, marriages, funerals, weddings and others. Therefore, they are entitled to maximum attention, not just from the government but the society as a whole.”