(JollofNews) – President Adama Barrow of the Gambia used his meeting with the Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye of Dakar to call for continued religious tolerance between Christians and Muslims in the two countries.

Mr Barrow said Christians and Muslims have coexisted peacefully for centuries and Archbishop Ndiaye’s visit would help to further strengthen the historic ties between the Gambia and Senegal .

He urged all religious leaders to continue to pray for peace, because without peace there can’t be confidence for people to invest in the economy.

“Having Christians in my cabinet manifest our belief that we are all Gambians and we should nurture and celebrate the long history of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians,” he said.

For his part, Archbishop Ndiaye said he was in Banjul to celebrate the Christian feast of the Assumption – also known locally as ‘Sang Marie’ – at the invitation of Gambia’s Christian community.

He said during the celebration he was encouraged by the solidarity of Muslim religious leaders from Banjul.

He prayed for success and peace for the Barrow administration and for humanity at large.

Archbishop Ndiaye told journalists that The Gambia had been a secular state until the former president declared it to be an Islamic state, which he said almost jeopardized the religious tolerance that Gambians shared. He said the  new government is here to serve Gambians of all faith and not those of a particular religion.

Vicar Emil Sambou of the local Catholic diocese earlier expressed similar sentiments. He said that the people of the Gambia and Senegal were in solidarity in their belief in one God through different ways.

Gambian Fisheries Minister James F.P Gomez praised the maturity that President Barrow demonstrated as a leader in promoting religious tolerance among citizens.

Mr Gomez said Christians in the country felt they were part of the government, with the presence of three Christian members in the Barrow cabinet. He thanked the Archbishop for preaching his message of peace.