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SHE SHE SHE: Religious leaders oriented on Gender-based violence

Oct 16, 2014, 10:30 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Njundu Drammeh, executive chairperson of the network against gender-based violence, NGBV, on Tuesday appealed to the religious leaders to use their podium during Khutbah and preach to the people how a husband and wife should live.

Mr Drammeh was speaking at a two-day workshop organized by the NGBV held at the CIAM hall in Kanifing.

The workshop brought together Muslim and Christian religious leaders, to deliberate on gender-based violence and related laws in The Gambia.

“We are appealing to the religious leaders to use their podium during Khutbah, and preach what they will learn during the two-day to people, so that they can know how a husband and wife should live so that marriage can be sweet”, he said.

The religious leaders were invited to participate in the workshop because all of them would agree that a human being is important, they believe that the soul is important, they believe that love should exist between people and they believe that people should respect each other.

He said religious leaders are very important because when a person is disturbed he or she seeks help from the religious leaders.

When problems occur in marriage, people run to the religious leaders for advice.

Thus, the issuesto discuss at the workshop should be part of it and strengthen it.

The role they play can make changes in the minds of people, because they are the ones who advise people.

Drammeh said some people hide behind the religion, because they do not understand, and the religious leaders are the only ones who can clear their doubts as to what the religion says between a husband and wife.

If marriage is not joyous, the home will not be joyous and if the home is not joyous the person will not be able to properly perform the daily prayers, he further noted.

Haddy Mboge-Barrow from the NGBV said the network comprises stakeholders like ActionAid International-The Gambia, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health among others who are part of 40 organizations that are part of the NGBV.

They formed this group because The Gambia and other countries are faced with problems, especially those affecting women and children, she said, adding that some of these problems are caused by culture or sometimes they are blamed on religion.

She added that if they go by what Islam and Christianity said, they will not need to organize forums for dialogue to talk about issues affecting women and children.

The amount of respect that Islam gave to women, if they go by that, it would not be necessary to sit and talk about the problems women face.

The laws like the Women’s Act, Sexual Violence Act are here to protect women, she stated, adding that the laws alone cannot help protect a woman; that was why they called on the religious leaders of the two faiths to share issues affecting women, and to discuss the way forward.

She said every now and then girls are raped, and some of the perpetrators are those who should protect them.

Imam Barham Jobe, from the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council, said dialogue is very important because every family member should engage his subjects in dialogue.

He said many things are happening in our homes due to lack of dialogue. He said things are happening between a man and his wife due to lack of dialogue.

He added that if they are called for dialogue it will clear everything, adding that the Prophet (SAW) whose example they are following, during his time whenever anything happens, he would call his disciples for dialogue.

He said religion did not leave out anything, and if followed, there would be nothing but peace and harmony.

Sister Therese Jammeh representing the Gambia Christian Council, said there is a need for the presence of both genders at such a workshop for effective dialogue.

She said development cannot take place when the other is present and the other is absent, adding that women can also play important roles in such dialogue.