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Gambia Christian Council Calls For Inclusion Of ‘Secularism’ In Draft Constitution.

By Patience Loum, Banjul, The Gambia – Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

Members of The Gambia Christian Council with Gambian President Adama Barrow.

Gambia Christian Council has called on the Constitutional Review Commission to look into the newly drafted constitution which clearly states The Gambia is a Sovereign State. 

The Bishop of Banjul, Gabriel Mendy stated in a statement, Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at the Christian Council head office in Kanifing, MDI Road that The Gambia cannot be deemed a Sovereign State.

The Bishop instead advocated for the inclusion of the term ‘Secular’ in the draft constitution. Speaking on behalf of the Christian Community, the Bishop explained the ordeals Christians experience in the hands of the former government.

These threats he said include; the encroachment on Christian cemeteries, wearing of veils in Christian-run schools, declaring The Gambia an Islamic State, disparaging remarks about Christianity from the former President Yaya Jammeh, the invitation of the Islamic scholar Dr. Zakir Naik, who publicly made critical remarks about Christianity and so many more.

“The Council is concerned that the CRC may have been unduly influenced into omitting ‘secular’ in the proposed draft following the many audio clips that were circulated and purporting to come from an Islamic scholar who put up a forceful agreement against including the word ‘secular’ in the new constitution which he argued was un-Islamic with insinuations that there were sinister groups with anti-religious agendas trying to influence members of the Constitutional Review Commission to include the word ‘secular’ to undermine Muslims,”

The pilate went on that The Gambia Christian Council (GCC) is aware that there are some people who are attributing the word secular to irreligious, adding that GCC isn’t advocating for that. “We are not against religion and the use of religious symbols,” the Bishop stated.

Under the influence of the Christian Community, the Bishop further demanded the non-involvement in religious affairs. He said he doesn’t have issues with the Shari’ah being implemented in The Gambia but can only apply to Muslims.

“We are not against the Shari’ah Law, what we are saying is let it be taken out of the constitution. Let our own religious values guide our actions and not finding them in the constitution,” he said.

“Muslims and Christians have been living together. This has been going on for generations and has been the legacy for religious tolerance,”

The GCC is the legally established body that represents all Christians in The Gambia. It is an umbrella body that unites and oversees the affairs of all churches in The Gambia with over 100 members from the Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Charismatic and Pentecostal churches.

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