Jul 3, 2008, 8:31 AM
President Yahya Jammeh has again urged Islamic scholars in the country to avoid being consumed with the striving for money or material rewards, and to be faithful to Islam, stressing that the lack of faith in Islam continues to cause great damage to the religion.
President Jammeh was speaking Tuesday at State House during his annual Koriteh feast meeting with Muslim leaders in the country.
As usual, he spoke tough on some of the burning issues, including indiscipline, terrorism, extremism and the ongoing conflicts in the Muslim world.
Citing the skyrocketing of prices of basic commodities, which he attributed to the lack of faith, President Jammeh noted that 98% of the business community in the country called themselves Muslims.
“We can fool each other here, put on big gowns to show that we are Muslims, but that can only be here. We can never fool God because come Day of Judgment, no president, imam or minister will judge you, but God will be the one to judge you,” he told the country’s Muslim elders.
According to the Gambian leader, there is nothing like segregation in the Islamic religion, as everybody is equal before the Almighty Allah.
“Whether you are black, white, short, tall or whether you are a Mandinka, Jola, Wollof, Fula or Manjago, we are all one in the eyes of the Almighty Allah,” he stated.
Expressing concern over the spate of violence in the
He also condemned the acts of terrorism, which he said has now been brought into the places of worship, while calling on Islamic scholars to be straightforward in all that they do.
In the views of the Gambian leader, the killings, poverty and sufferings in Muslim countries are all caused by Muslims themselves, noting that what non-Muslims do for Muslim to assist them is far more than the help Muslims give to fellow Muslims.
“Christians are helping each other, but Muslims do not, especially those Muslims who kill their fellow Muslims in the name of Islam,” he said.
On discipline, President Jammeh challenged parents to inculcate discipline in their children, noting that most of those girls that wear short dresses in the streets or attend Sunday beach parties are Muslims and not Christians.
“This is where the problem lies, because it is not only the responsibility of the religious leaders or the school authorities to inculcate discipline in our children; it should also be the responsibility of each and every parent as well to discipline his or her children,” Jammeh added.
Also speaking on the occasion was the Vice President and Minister for Women Affairs, Isatou Njie-Saidy, who underscored the numerous assistance the Gambian leader renders not only to Muslims but Christians as well, noting that the help President Jammeh gives in private is more than what he gives out in public.
While urging the youths of the country to emulate him as their role model, Vice President Njie-Saidy also called on the youth to listen to their parents, since they are the future leaders of this country.
She highlighted some of the development projects undertaken by the Gambian leader since coming to power in 1994, adding that what President Jammeh has done for this country cannot all be enumerated by people.
Speaking on behalf of the President of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC), the first vice president of the council, Alhaji Sheriff Malick Badjan said continuing misunderstanding among Muslims in the country remains a major challenge to the GSIC.
He called on all Muslims in the country to come forward and discuss with the council any doubts they have about the religion.
According to him, the Supreme Islamic Council will continue lending its support to President Jammeh and his government in all sectors.
The Imam Ratib of
The chairman of Banjul Muslim Elders, Alhagie A.A. Faal, said it has been a longstanding tradition for Muslims elders in The Gambia to pay a courtesy call on the head of state at State House, after the Eid prayers.
He commended the Gambian leader for initiating the Quranic memorization competition among Arabic Islamic students, noting that this has encouraged many people to go in for Quranic memorization.
Mr. Faal called on parents to inculcate discipline in their children, so as to enable them benefit themselves and their families in the future.
Other speakers at the meeting included Dr Momodou Tangara, Fatou Lamin Faye, Alagie Cham and Lamin Kaba Bajo, the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Basic and Secondary Education, Communications, and of Fisheries and Water Resources respectively.