(JollofNews)- The Gambia government has condemned some online Gambian and foreign media “that have been filling their newspaper columns and airtime with “gross distortions and outrageous lies against the country” since it was declared an Islamic republic.
As widely reported in your JollofNews, President Jammeh, who cultivates the image of a practising Muslim and is often seen holding a Qur’an and prayer beads, has declared the Muslim-majority country an Islamic republic.
He said the move was in line with the West African nation’s “religious identity and values” and no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practise freely.
But since the declaration was made, some online Gambian and foreign media houses have published many inaccurate and misleading articles.
“All they have been doing is engaging in scaremongering and treating this matter as if it is a hand grenade with the pin out,” said Sheriff Bojang, minister of Information Communication Technology and Infrastructure.
“Everybody is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own fact. When the President made the Brufut declaration, he was very clear. He stated that the Gambia as an Islamic state will respect the rights of all citizens and residents and that Christians and others can practise their religion and he emphasised the maintenance of tolerance and mutual respect.
“The President said the new changes will not lead to a shift in his or the country’s relationship with anybody or any other country. He said the Gambia will be a model for the rest of the world and will project a good image of Islam. This is his vision. And nothing has changed from that since.”
Minister Bojang added: “But instead of finding out the truth, some of these reporters and editors jump to conclusions making noise everywhere that “Christians are being defamed, persecuted and crucified” as one Senegalese paper put it. Christians and people of other faiths are freest in the Gambia and do not have any reason to fear intimidation of any sort.
“His Excellency, the president has Christians in his family, went to a Christian school and even lived in a Christian home. He is well-versed in the Bible and its history and believes both true Christians and Muslims worship the same God and except for some doctrinal differences like the nature of Christ and the concept of the Trinity, are the same. All I can tell you is that the President believes in the Qur’anic injunction that ‘There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion”.