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Oct 6, 2008, 5:51 AM
Islamic Online University (IOU) yesterday held its 3rd Annual Graduation
ceremony for more than 300 students in different areas of study, at the UTG law
faculty grounds on MDI Road.
Since the IOU was set up in The Gambia in 2013, spearheaded by the scholar Dr Bilal Philips, who is also the chancellor, more than 1,500 Gambians have benefited from the IOU’s English, Arabic and IT programmes.
This year, 378 Gambian students earned certificates and diplomas in the following areas: 342-students graduated in Intensive English Course (IEC), 30 students in Intensive Arabic Programme (IAP) and 6 students in Arabic for Quran.
The Chancellor of IOU, Dr Bilal Philips, stressed the importance of acquiring and sharing of knowledge, especially one guided by Islam.
The IOU is unique compared to others as it seeks to make a difference to the Ummah, one bent on changing nations with an education which is guided by Islam, he said, adding that “this is what the IOU represents.
“The most important thing we need to know about in this life is Allah. If we don’t, then this life is no different from the life of animals,” he continued.
The IOU seeks to help the Ummah achieve its role in the ultimate education that brings out the good in humans beings and in world society.
He called on people to recognize and teach to understand evil acts, and how to prevent them from taking place.
The chancellor said as long as people are learning, calling for good, preventing evil, those people are the best of humankind.
He reminded the graduates not to live dual lives, and to endeavour to practise the knowledge gained.
‘’Let me remind you, one who has the knowledge of this world but does not worship Allah, who denies Allah’s existence or neglects the worship of Allah, then this life is a wasted life,” he said.
The Islamic scholar said he was thankful to God that the IOU has over the past two years reached a global network of 288,000 students, and that 282,000 of them are studying at virtually no cost.
“Because the university was and is dedicated to serving the Ummah, not to accumulate wealth; but to spread the knowledge of Islam far and wide,’’ he said.
Dr Philips noted that they will continue to expand the IOU in The Gambia with the help of all Gambians, who should get their hands on deck to encourage students to study in its programmes and get enlightened with the light of Islam.
Dr Cherno Barry, the vice chancellor of IOU, encouraged the graduating students to seek more knowledge, saying: “It’s just the beginning of a long road to the ocean of knowledge.”
Dr Mariama Ceesay, the guest speak on the occasion, praised the graduating students, especially the females who persevered so much to realize their educational goals.
The IOU country representative, Aminata Jaiteh, and registrar Gora Faal both expressed delight and appreciation to the UTG, the guests and all who graced the occasion.
The valedictorian, Lamin Marenah, expressed gratitude to all the IOU and management for providing them with qualitative education which would go a long way in shaping their lives.
He implored all his colleagues to continue to raise the flag of the university to higher heights, and encouraged them to utilize the knowledge gained in the interest of their families, the society and the nation as a whole.
As seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim, the Islamic online university provides a golden opportunity to access Islamic courses wherever people may be and whenever they wish, without having to travel overseas or even leave the confines of their homes.
It offers its students an organised and structured intensive programme in the most convenient and innovative form, placed intellectually and conceptionally in the hands of globally known Muslims scholars from the various fields of Islamic studies and Islamised modern disciplines.