J-22 and Religion: Let there be Light

J-22 and Religion: Let there be Light



Many are the great achievements of the July 22nd Revolution and what we celebrate about it is most tangible results we see in terms of infrastructure and other practical landmarks; but no other sphere dwarfs the achievements of this revolution in terms of its effect in bringing religion back to where it belongs in our lives and affairs, Center Stage! Congratulations to The architect of this revolution His Excellency Sheikh Prof. Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Babili Mansa!

One of the many endearing qualities of this revolution and its leadership is the sterling trait of consistency. While many tout him for the recent proclamation of making The Gambia an Islamic Republic, many tend to forget the fact that President Jammeh built the first ever mosque in State House from the very genesis of the revolution whose 22nd anniversary we now celebrate with great joy and fanfare. The symbolism of building a mosque at the pinnacle of government power is enough of a momentous achievement for all religions.

He has sponsored Gambians to perform their holy pilgrimages in the sacred centers of both Islam and Christianity. President Jammeh has contributed in cash and kind to celebrations of feasts for both Muslims and Christians.

JAMMEHHe has sponsored many Quranic competitions, the most recent and biggest, being the International Quranic competition he recently hosted as part of events marking the 22nd anniversary of the great July 22nd Revolution.

The achievements in the service of religion are well worthy of celebration and they have been, and continue to be, celebrated at home and abroad. In a recent letter (published by this paper) commending him for the “President Yahya Jammeh International Award for Qur’an Memorisation Competition” held as part of the 22nd anniversary Celebrations of the July 22nd Revolution, no less a personality than Dr. Halit Eren, the Director General of the Research Centre for Islamic History, Arts and Culture  (IRCICA) said this:

“I am proud to inform Your Excellency that your generous behavior during the Award ceremony held in Banjul on 27th July had added to the happiness of the Jury members and the participants at the competition.

“Unlike other competitions, Your Excellency’s bountiful act had given this competition a different aspect. In the names of all participants, I am pleased to express my sincere thanks to Your Excellency and pray Allah Almighty that The Gambia would further flourish, be wealthier and prosper under your wise leadership.

“I would like to congratulate Your Excellency and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia for this great achievement. I believe this competition will be the beginning of a new era in Africa. The message of Holy Quran will, Inshallah, spread all over Africa.”

But the one plaudit that captured my imagination and thrilled me the most was the one conveyed in a Facebook post by Joseph Lumbard, a professor at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who lauded President Jammeh for holding a ‘tasbih’ (prayer beads) in a photograph with United States of America’s President, Barack Obama:

“I love that the President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, is holding a huge tasbih in his photo with Obama”.

As Muslims born and raised in Muslim societies, certain acts and appearances may seem very normal and unremarkable to us; but in a global platform controlled by not only non-Muslim powers but also anti-Islamic coalitions, proudly exhibiting Islamic symbols is indeed a courageous act. No wonder the American Professor singled out President Jammeh’s appearance at with President Obama with his distinctive Muslim Attaya and beads.

I congratulate the leader of the July 22nd Revolution and all those patriots who have supported and continue to support the President and his Popular Revolution as it continues to positively fan the flames of the True Light!


Momodou Sabally

The Gambia’s Pen