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Religious tolerance should not be abused

Feb 22, 2012, 1:59 PM

The Gambia is well known for religious tolerance, with Muslims and Christians living side by side peacefully.

However, this religious tolerance must not be abused.

For example, the use of houses as churches, which are located in compounds full of tenants, could cause problems.

Also a group of people congregating in a compound or in the street, beating drums accompanied by religious songs using loudspeakers could be a source of noise pollution to the neighbours.

It has been noticed, for instance, that some people make other tenants inconvenience by engaging in religious activities in a way which is akin to being a public nuisance.

We have no problem with the opening of new churches and mosques in the country.

However, we advise that such houses of prayer must not cause any disturbance to the community, since we know that Allah does not approve of engaging in religious activities which disturb the neighbours.

This means, prayers to the Almighty, whether in the mosque or church using loudspeakers which carry sounds, must be done in such a way that the neighbourhood is not disturbed in any way.

There is no doubt that to cause noise pollution is the same as being a public nuisance.

We are, therefore, calling on the government ministry responsible for Religious Affairs and the police, to put a stop to religious activities which, because of the way they are conducted, do cause a lot of unnecessary noise and disturb the peace in the community.

The issue is a matter of concern, and something should be done about it sooner rather than later.

This is particularly so, especially considering the way and manner some foreigners, both Muslims and Christians, are being allowed to abuse the country’s enabling environment for religious peace and harmony.

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