In his annual Christmas Message delivered to the nation today, President Adama Barrow has warned Gambians about “grave distortions” of religious teachings.
Such distortions can be used as excuses for extremism, leading to evil, social disorder, instability and loss of lives.
“We must not allow this to take root here,” he warned. Recent days has seen rising tension between some section of Christian and Muslim population over the inclusion of secularity in the draft constitution or not.
Gambia’s Muslim leaders have vowed to boycott the draft constitution if the Constitutional Review Commission put the word secular in it to describe the state.
President Barrow describes Christmas as one of the occasions that truly demonstrate the religious harmony that Gambians are renowned for. The President noted that religion is a part of The Gambia’s diverse cultural heritage.
Religion adds meaning to life through the values it teaches and the manner it shapes and modifies behaviour. This makes the role of religious leaders critical, he added.
“We encourage all venerable leaders to remain steadfast, with the reassurance that my Government acknowledges their contribution to our development, progress and overall wellbeing,” he maintained.
He however pointed out that the dignity of the people has to be maintained through reason, dialogue and strengthening interfaith collaboration. Hence Christmas should be seen as a reminder for all to continue to propagate the true teachings of Jesus Christ.
President Barrow assured that his Government maintains a focused-attention on creating, sustaining and expanding the public space for responsible participation in national development.
He urged all to exploit the moment to re-energise themselves in readiness for the coming year so that the country can maximize national output and achievements.