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Barrow Urges Religious Leaders In The Gambia To Abide By Laws, Affirms Non-Sharia Status Of The Country

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HE Adama Barrow, president of the Gambia

By Landing Ceesay 

In a gathering with Imams and religious figures, President Adama Barrow of the Republic of the Gambia emphasized the importance of adhering to the country’s constitution, clarifying that Gambia is not governed by Sharia law.

Addressing the audience, President Barrow highlighted the distinction between Gambia being predominantly Islamic while not being a Sharia state. He stressed the necessity of respecting the established legal framework, irrespective of personal beliefs or positions held within society. 

“We are in an Islamic gathering; I want the Imams and religious leaders to understand something clearly. There are two things in this country that people cannot differentiate. We heard people preaching, but they could not differentiate between these two things. Gambia is an Islamic country; it is a 95% Islamic country. We agreed to that, but Gambia is not a Shariah country. We must differentiate these two. Because it is not a Shariah country, that’s why we are operating in law and the constitution. Those laws are written. 

“So even if you are an Imam or you are a preacher, you must remember at all times that this is a country of law. Whether the law is good or bad, as far as it is not changed we must all respect those laws. I want people to understand that. When the law is made, it is made for the whole society. But that doesn’t mean that all the laws that are made favour everyone. There is a certain law that does not favour you. There is also another law that does not favour another person,” President Barrow said. 

President Barrow underscored his own adherence to the laws, acknowledging instances where certain regulations may not align with personal preferences, yet emphasizing the importance of upholding them for the collective welfare of the nation.

During the meeting, which included Banjul Muslim Elders and religious leaders from the Greater Banjul Area, President Barrow urged all attendees to comply with the country’s laws, emphasizing the significance of maintaining peace and order within society.

“Even myself as the President, there are certain laws that do not favor me. My Minister of Justice knows, if I want to do certain things, he is the one I call. I will tell him that this is what I want to do and what the law says about it. If I want to do it, he will tell me no; the law does not want that. Anything the law doesn’t want, I am always afraid to do that. So if I as the President operate that way, so you people in other positions, you should operate that way. That’s what will bring peace to the country,” President Barrow told the Religious Leaders. 

These remarks from President Barrow come at a time of heightened tensions surrounding discussions on repealing legislation prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision (FGM/C) in the country, sparking debates between religious leaders and activists.

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