Ultimatum for sic!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
President Jammeh has called on the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) to put its house in order and advanced a one week (with effect from last week Thursday) ultimatum for it to regulate the apparent Islamic differences in the country.
He said the kind of people who use various forms of material inducements to propagate their faith are in fact hypocrites.
President Jammeh made these remarks, last Thursday, during the official inauguration ceremony of the new Supreme Islamic Council Training Institute for Imams and scholars, located on MDI Road, Kanifing.
"You [Supreme Islamic Council] know what your duties are in the country. If you see certain things that were happening here that led to violence, it was because you were not given the power. But I gave you the authority and mandate to regulate those things and yet still nonsense things are happening. You have seen them and yet you cannot do anything about them. What is the essence of the council now?" the president quizzed, while addressing a gathering of the faithful, as part of a string of activities marking the 14th anniversary of the July 22nd Revolution.
According to him, when the Ahmaddiyyas arrived in the country to create problems, he drove them out of the country.
"I told them that it is true that everyone has his or her religion, but you cannot come to The Gambia to practice a religion that is different from the one we have," President Jammeh recalled.
President Jammeh, renowned for his uncompromising faith and affinity to Islam, warned against wolves in sheep clothing and proxies. He alluded to a "a self-appointed, so-called Imam, who studied electrical engineering in Libya; somebody who did not even have a mosque and did not expect to be an Imam".
"When the Whites want to bring any nonsense into the country, they pass through him. The Supreme Islamic Council is seeing this happening and they are keeping quiet about it. There is no lenience in Islam; if you want to be a hypocrite we will not accept it here," the president warned.
"If you know you don't want to regulate the religious differences and stand for your purpose... this country does not refuse strangers. But those who want to bring other religions here which are different from the one we have, take them back to your country. I have told you these several times," he reiterated.
"There are those among you, who want to create violence. They use them and the same people stand and insult Prophet Muhammad (SAW). I will not accept it here. The Islam we know is only one Holy Qur'an and Prophet Muhmmad (SAW) is the last prophet that God has chosen and sent as light for humanity. Anyone who does not believe in that is not a Muslim," President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh stressed.
The last resort
The president was unequivocal on what may follow if the Islamic council failed to act accordingly. In this respect, he warned that he would be compelled to dissolve the current council and call a congress for a new one to be created; which "would not accept bribes, talk for money and work for money".
He then added: "I want to see these Islamic differences flushed out or else I will deploy the Police Intervention to come and pack anyone found within the premises to work in my farm at Kanilai. This country is ours, let's open our hearts and work for our collective interest."
The new complex
The multi-million Dalasis centre was funded by the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait, with the support of The Gambia government and other partners.
At the inauguration, President Jammeh promised to do what it would take to complete the remaining structures.
Alhaji Ismaila Sambou, the secretary of state for Local Government, Lands and Religious Affairs, elaborated on the importance of research and capacity building in Islam, adding that the facility will enable the council to host religious activities, as well as improve the standard of Imams.
"The facilities, when fully operational, will significantly enhance the operational effectiveness of the council. I urge the council to properly manage the structures and facilities at all times for the benefit of all Muslims," said the SoS.
For his part, Alhaji Cherno Banding Drammeh, the president of SIC, spoke of numerous interventions that were successfully carried out by his council, including the settling of the Imamship crisis in Bakau and the brawl between Christians and Muslims in Brikama.
He thanked the Department of State for Religious Affairs for its support and also thanked the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait and Gamcel/Gamtel for the support.
The ceremony was attended by members of the Cabinet and the National Assembly, members of the Judiciary, religious leaders, Islamic scholars and well-wishers.
Author: by Musa Ndow