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City of Banjul
Friday, May 27, 2022

Promote religious tolerance!

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Mr. President, you do realise you inherited a nation that was teetering towards an absolute theocracy under the former leadership. Basically a nation that was being slowly built upon a totalitarian absolutist Islamic state. It’s with this in mind that we call on you to assure all Gambians and all religious communities that our secular statehood as grounded in the constitution is up for upholding. It might be easily dismissed as the mania of a past leadership and that it belongs to the antechambers of a maniac’s antics. However nothing solidifies a people’s trust more than being assured by the holders of authority. It’s in this vein that you’re called upon as the highest authority in the land to be a champion of the secular.

These are volatile times when it comes to religion and the stuff of the spiritual with young and old people alike being constantly herded towards extreme ideologies around the world. So it’s perhaps in the fitness of things that we find a way to negotiate faith and community by promoting tolerance and the strong separation of church and mosque from state and this needs to be a priority; for development can only happen in a democratic and open society.

Mr. President, the new Gambia, like all other nations, is also an old Gambia of many idiosyncrasies which have to be acknowledged and situated rightfully where they belong. And it takes expertise and painstaking effort to figure a way to navigate through it all. Which is why it might help if a commission is set up that comprises all faith communities to come up with a proper framework to solidify our diversity as embodied within the national anthem.

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Mr. President, you’re entrusted with a weighty task: to lead and steer the ship of this nation towards safer shores in these very uneasy times. Your task is both a noble and difficult one. However democracy is to be in conversation with the true agencies of power, the masses of the people. By having them in the loop, consulting them, listening to them nothing is really that big to take on. So we call upon you, apart from the need to create a commission, to always listen to the people because the ultimate solution of every problem is in the hands of those it rises and falls upon. Good luck!

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