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Koriteh In The Gambia

Sep 22, 2009, 5:59 AM

Muslims in The Gambia on Sunday joined other believers of the Islamic faith in observing (Eid-al-fitr) Koriteh marking the end of fasting.

As usual congregational prayers were held in various Mosques and other open places of worship.

In Banjul, the capital city, the Koriteh prayers at the Kind Fahad Mosque was led by the Imam Ratib Imam Cherno Kah.

It's worth mentioning that not everybody in the country prayed on Sunday.

Reports reaching the Point have revealed that so many communities, especially at the provincial areas did not pray on Sunday as others have prayed on Monday.

The big question is who is responsible for this problem among adherents of the same faith, particularly in a small country like The Gambia.

To this end, we welcome the suggestion of President Jammeh for the initiative to enable Gambians to pray on the same day with Saudi Arabia. This will no doubt avoid division and misunderstanding among believers of this major faith, Islam.

The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council earlier this year convened a national conference on the sighting of the moon in The Gambia.

The forum aimed to ensure that Muslims in The Gambia observe special feasts, such as Koriteh on the same day. But it seems such efforts didn't yield fruitions.

On Saturday evening, the leadership of the Supreme Islamic Council was seen on GRTS talking to people about the sighting of the moon.

During the programme, it was announced that Saudi Arabia would observe the feast on Sunday, and went to the extent of naming people here in The Gambia, who according to them, have sighted the moon.

From there, the information was spread across the country that the feast would be observed on Sunday. But this news was not taken seriously by a good number of Muslims at the countryside because of conflicting stories from the area.

Most of them believe very much in their local scholars, such as Imams and dared not oppose their dictates.

One thing that is important is that we were told that as Muslims we should pray whenever another Muslim(s) sees the moon, of which our scholars knew very well but seem not to care about it.

It's good that people respect authority, especially the supreme body tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the affairs of Muslims in the country.

It would be of help if the Supreme Islamic Council can actively engage Imams in a dialogue to thrash out some of these issues at the local level.

It's also imperative for the Supreme Islamic Council to announce the state of the moon before a press could be released from the Office of the President, announcing public holidays in observance of feast.

We encourage the Supreme Islam Council to intensify its efforts in engaging scholars, particularly at the countryside through forums such as districts, regional and national seminars, to prevent occurrence of such misunderstanding among Muslims.

We would also like to use this important feast to pray for all those individuals and institutions that were supportive to the poor and needy throughout the month of Ramadan.

As Muslims, we must remember that though we have come to the end of the Ramadan, but one must stick to his/her religious obligations to God.

May God the Almighty Allah continues to bless The Gambia in all aspects of development for the benefit of all Gambians.