Following widespread allegations and mischaracterization of President Adama Barrow’s remarks in the North Bank Region about the planned construction of 60 mosques, The Gambia Government makes it categorically clear, that the reports were twisted and grossly exaggerated to instill fear and deep divisions in Gambian society and to potentially, malign the good reputation of the President and his democratic Government.
Therefore, The Gambia Government hereby reminds citizens, visitors, resident aliens, representatives of foreign governments and their diplomatic missions as well as members of all religious denominations, that The Republic of The Gambia remains a secular, constitutional democracy where all are free to believe and practice their faith and it is not Government’s business to interfere in people’s religious beliefs.
Equally, Government wants to make it abundantly clear, that the construction of religious houses was not its policy agenda nor development programme.
Instead, President Barrow’s vision for The Gambia is to radically transform a country that endured two decades of dictatorship and maladministration to a nation of hope and progress that respects and protects constitutional due process, the rule of law and promotes a culture of religious tolerance and guarantees citizens of their unfettered freedoms.
The Government acknowledges that some volunteer youth groups among them, the Barrow Youth Movement and NGOs, have availed themselves to the President with promises of boreholes, farming implements, seeds and fertilizer to support his development initiatives as well as the voluntary construction of village mosques following requests by local worshippers.
However, these pledges and pronouncements by volunteers must not be confused nor misconstrued as a deliberate policy by the Barrow government to build mosques. President Adama Barrow remains focus on his National Development Plans.
The Government once again reiterates it commitment to the secularity of the state where all are equal before the law.
Ebrima G. Sankareh
Spokesperson of Government of The Republic of The Gambia.