Speaking yesterday at the opening of the fourth congress of the council at its headquarters in Kanifing, Imam Momodou Lamin Touray said: “President Yahya Jammeh listens to us and he does not want to interfere in our rulings. He complies with the council’s decisions on all religious festivities…”
The Gunjur-born imam hailed President Jammeh’s ‘magnanimous’ support to the council over the years describing him as its chief patron.
“The President Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh does not only stop at calling people to Islam, but he also ensures that the message of Islam is spread in a proper way,” he said.
Touray went on to highlight the numerous support the president lent to the council, which included donation of three vehicles worth more than one million dalasis each and a bus which the council hires out to generate income.
He added further: “President Jammeh has never forgotten the council in his traditional distribution of Ramadan sugar, even though he as well gives out sugar to all the regional administrative areas.”
The GSIC president called for unity among the Muslim community in The Gambia. He noted that the council now screens and certifies all Islamic preachers in the country in order to avoid conflict.
In his report, the secretary general of the GSIC, Dr Mbye Kah gave a detailed account of the activities of GSIC for the past five years.
He emphasised the council’s position on tagging with Mecca in the observance of Muslim feasts, advising the government to implement it.
Imam Kah added: “Mosque disputes have been one of the main concerns of the council. Most of the cases were related to the selection of imam and deputy imam.”
He outlined that the council is faced with challenges such as lack of adequate funds, and lack of adequate legal backing. He recommended that the executive council members be given more international exposure.
Another speaker, higher education minister, Dr Abubakar Senghore, told the congress: “You all know the state of Islam in the country before 1994 and now. If you see us here today it is because of President Yahya Jammeh’s visionary leadership. The perception of an Islamic graduate’s place in the then Gambia was at the mosques. But who changed this belief? It’s the president.”
The Director of World Islamic Call Society, Sheikh Nasseir Takazi, assured that his organisation would continue to collaborate with and give support to Islamic schools in The Gambia, through the council.
By Ousman Bojang]]>