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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Letters: Secularism: a principle coined by the mortal to challenge the immortal

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Dear editor,
The Constitutional development in the Gambia has witnessed several amendments, starting from 1947-1997. And they are as follows: 1947, 1954, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1970-1982, 1982-1994 and 1997 respectively. None of all these constitutions made mention of secularism/secularity/ secularization/secular/secularize except that of 1997. Muslims and Christians have been living in the Gambia in harmony, in all these periods. Why should they allow themselves to insert or include a word that will serve as a tumbling block to their national unity?

However, if the historical background of this principle is traced, one will realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with us. Europe was ruled by the Popes and Christian leaders who were firmly holding to the teachings of the Bible. During the Renaissance era, the scientists embarked on scientific discoveries. These discoveries were considered by the Church as rebellion to the teachings of the divine book.

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These scientists were severely tortured in the hands of religious leaders. They were the ones called secularists, thus, those who were not occupying the administrative positions in the religious governments. When it was the turn for scientists to occupy the helm of affairs in the governments of Europe they decided to revenge Thus, preventing the religious leaders from occupying the positions. They (scientists) decided to distinct the religious leaders from involving in politics as a sign of “tit for tat is a fair play”.

The above mentioned maltreatment was the genesis of secularism in Europe. I do wonder why is it that Christians are lobbying to key in this word in the constitution. Below is the definition of a Secular State: “A Secular State is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. Administration cannot force any person to pay taxes for the promotion or maintenance of religion. There should be absolutely no religious instructions in educational institutions and schools”.

Moreover, looking at the definition above, one will realize that secularism is a tool meant for destruction. If our sons and daughters are denied access to moral and spiritual education in our own schools in the name of a foreign word (secularism) that has nothing to do with our values, norms and other social backgrounds, what will be the essence of having a democratic government that respects fundamental human rights for its citizens? The matter of the fact is that, it is high time for us as Gambians learnt how to say no to tools that are being used by our enemies and the agents of Satan so as to destroy us. It is high time we passed the level of mare knowledge to the level of awareness. For a knowledgeable person without awareness can easily sell his/her country, while a knowledgeable person with awareness will never, ever pay heed to that nasty contract.

The National Assembly:
The National Assembly in any given country is considered as a power house of that country. As such any decisions to be taken should be thoroughly studied. There is a tradition of Prophet Muhammad narrated by An-Nu’man bin Bashir:
The Prophet (P.B.U.H) Said: “The example of the persons abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others), so they said: “Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them. So if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe.”

Whenever I read this tradition of the Prophet, my mind reflects to House of representative which is exactly like this ship, and the members of the House are just like those people who drew lots of their seats in the ship. The deputies in the National Assembly should be very careful and mind full when taking decisions, enacting laws and passing resolutions. They should not forget that they are representing the people who voted them there. There were some who equally wanted to be there, but people did not vote for them.

On Wednesday 27 of November 2019, the NAM of Banjul South in person of Fatoumatta Touma Ousainou Njie stood in the House of Assembly and made her destructive contribution on secularism. After finishing her statement, the expectation was that, the elders of the House who witnessed today and yesterday would condemn her, but nothing in that nature happened. To me, it was really a disappointment from their side. They supposed to condemn her and tell her the norms, customs, values and the tradition of this nation.

Some started praising her, by considering her a “worthy servant” and other honey words such as “I love you.” Below is a praising statement by Mr. Toney F Mendy in his letter to the Editor on Tuesday 10 December 2019: “Honestly! In you, I recognize the fact that wisdom, truth, honesty and reason is no more a character reserved for philosophers or the so called pious people to maneuver with. Indeed you have given hope for those who envisage a progressive and forth thinking society based on national values, and those of the complex global setting.”

I wonder which type of national values that Mr. Toney F. Mendy is referring to. For Secularism cannot be a national value in Gambian context. In the Gambia, for man to marry a man is not among our national values, likewise, a woman to marry a woman. In fact, it is a shame in Gambian context. We all know that same-sex marriage is part and parcel of secularism.

For Mr. Mendy to praise her is not my headache, but my real headache is the praise from Honourable Minister Bai Lamin Jobe when he stated in the same edition (Standard page 2):
“Touma Njie is a brave and courageous woman and I want to urge her to continue the good work that she has been doing, I want to urge her to continue to express her conscience without fear, we are fully behind her.”

The personal pronoun “we” in Honourable’s praise is referring to whom? Banjul South people who voted her to the House of Representative? Anyway, Touma Njie was not created by anybody in this country, rather she was created by Allah the Almighty. The one who created the public places and gave order to his obedient servants to erect mosques on them.

Mr. Mendy continued on to say: “Why did you, theocratic Gambians allow Churches to be built in and Christians, Hindus, Jews, Pagans, among others live in The Gambia without paying royalties to you”? “Why did you allow night clubs, bars and even alcohol companies all over your supposed theocratic Gambia”? Mr. Mendy is not a theologian neither a historian. And he does not know the implications of secularism that is why he is advocating for it.

A free thinker always remains a free thinker. Satan has his own agents who are serving him day in day out. Among his servants and agents: the free thinkers. They are the archetypal agents of him on earth.

All sorts of evils are packaged in the concept of secularism. Therefore, I hereby say million “NO” to secularism, secularity, secularization, secular and secularize.
Samba P Bah
Senior citizen

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