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UDP DISTANCES ITSELF FROM SABALLY’S COMMENTS, APOLOGISES TO CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

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By Alagie Manneh

The UDP has distanced itself from comments made by its campaign manager Momodou Sabally that students who desire to put on veils in schools should be allowed to do so.

The Gambia Chirstian Council said Mr Sabally’s comments disparaged the Christian faith, and asked the UDP to disassociate itself from them.

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In a letter dated 11 May 2023 and signed by Tombong Saidy, the administrative secretary for media communications, the party described Sabally’s remarks as “unfortunate”.

“It is rather unfortunate that Mr Momodou Sabally has made personal statements that the Gambia Christian Council found unacceptable and derogatory to their faith. As a National Executive Committee member, Mr Sabally ought to know better than to make statements that may be interpreted as offensive or inappropriate to communities, individuals or organisations or attributable to the UDP,” the letter stated.

It went on to say that the UDP upholds The Gambia’s “priceless heritage” of pacifism with Christians.

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“Consequently, the UDP unreservedly disassociates itself from the comments made by Mr Sabally… Finally, on behalf of the National Executive Committee, secretary general and the entire membership of the UDP we tender our sincere apologies for any offences caused to the Christian community by this matter.”

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When contacted by The Standard on Wednesday evening after the Gambia Christian Council issued its condemnation, Momodou Sabally rejected the accusations levelled against him by the council, and added that his statements on the matter were his personal opinion, and not those of his party.

“What I mentioned is my opinion that the girls using veils should be allowed to use their veils in the schools, and my argument is from the democratic constitutional rights perspective that every Gambian should be free to exercise his or her religion and to manifest their religion as they see fit without mistreating the laws of the land,” he asserted.

Sabally said his comments were borne out of the need to defend the constitutional right of every Gambian, irrespective of religious belief.

Sabally, who said he considered himself “a friend” of the Christian faith, added that the accusations “caught him off-guard”.

The CCG statement came in the wake of a religious meeting held with members of the Supreme Islamic Council, including the religious affairs minister Abba Sanyang, who Mr Sabally views as “an unapologetic politician”.

“…I have nothing but respect for Christians and Christianity. And I will be the first to defend the rights of Christians in this country,” he stated.

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