By Tabora Bojang
The leadership row over the Supreme Islamic Council has worsened with both sides now recognising only their own faction as the true representative of Muslims in The Gambia.
Rawdatul Majaalis, who accused SIC leadership of entrenching themselves in power illegally, declared their own body with an executive committee led by Sheriff Muhammed Nano Hydara.
In response, the SIC leadership of Muhammad Lamin Touray yesterday issued a statement condemning the formation of a rival council, calling it an “arbitrary violation of the constitution”.
SIC accused Rawdatul Majaalis of attempting to hijack a legally constituted Council.
“We wish to remind the public that the legally Constituted GSIC is a non-government organization established by Government intervention to have a strong working relationship as provided in the Constitution of the Council on all Islamic matters.
The Constitution defines in article 18 the qualification of membership for the Council. Article 35 provides the legal term for membership and eligibility. Article 36 makes provision for the expiration of the legal term and the process for the supervision of general election for the positions of regional offices etc.
As an illegal body, the Rawdatul Majaalis cannot therefore come and want to hijack a legally constituted Council as the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council.
Unilateral action from the Rawdatul Majaalis is a violation of the constitution and should be denounced vehemently and opposed in its strongest terms.
The Rawdatul Majaalis is not a registered organization to the GSIC, nor attached to any Islamic body. It has no right to the title of Gambia Supreme Islamic Council or calls itself Supreme Islamic Council,” the GSIC said in a statement.
Rawda accused the SIC leadership of refusing to hold election which is mandatory under their constitution, claiming they do not have funds when they could afford to embark on a nation wide tour which they themselves said is not funded by anyone.
The body claimed that they have the support of the majority of the Imams in the Gambia who have lost trust in the present SIC, accusing its leaders of being there for their own interest.
Rawdatul Majaalis vowed never to recognise the SIC, saying it no longer has legality to represent Gambian Muslims.