Friday, February 6, 2015

Supreme Islamic Council a threat to national cohesion

Yankuba Colley
SIC S-G Touray with piles of money

The deliberate injection of religion into the body politic of what is a secular Gambia has reared its ugly head, once more, prompting reaction from Mr. Ousainou Darboe, leader of the opposition party, the United Democratic Party, UDP.

The Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) issued a statement accusing the Ahmadiyya Muslin Jama'at  of non-Muslim - an accusation flatly denied and labelled as "false and unfounded" filled with historical misrepresentations.

What prompted the SIC to go on the attack again against a community that has been an integral part of the Gambian community, and has lived and peacefully coexisted with other faiths for decades, is unclear.  What is clear, however, is that the SIC is a branch of the Jammeh regime, even if it is not officially proclaimed.

But the SIC receives government subvention, including salaries for the Secretary General and staff. What other prove is needed when the head of SIC is appointed by Yaya Jammeh, A radio station dedicated specifically for SIC propaganda has been built as government expense, located on MDI Road next to the Ministry of Information a complex fast becoming known as "religion alley with a couple of strict fundamentalist madrassas" according our a source in Banjul.

Government also provides them with offices, official vehicles and fuel.  It, therefore, begs the question for any politician to seek clarification as to whether the SIC's statement was officially sanctioned.  The SIC does not issue a statement that is broadcast in GRTS and published in the Daily Observer without the blessing of Yaya Jammeh.

Therefore, Yankuba Colley's attempt at distinguishing the government from the SIC is to conceal the fact that the SIC is the vehicle through which the regime channels its religious propaganda using intimidation tactics.   For Mr. Colley to say that SIC "is a religious body and theirs (meaning the APRC) is a political party" is unconvincing.

Revealing, however, in his defense of the SIC is that its declaration was not an "executive order", confirming the broad extent of Jammeh's absolute power over Gambians - that Gambia is governed by executive order.

Every statement emanating from the SIC is regime-sanctioned which, by definition, is the view of the Gambian dictator.  Gambians, including the Opposition, must be steadfast in guarding against attempts by the Jammeh at de-secularizing the State.