Secularism is Misunderstood & Needs Education


The news waves and the pages of our newspapers are full with arguments and counter arguments about secularism.
The arguments advanced in many cases are that The Gambia is and has not been a secular state and that the word secularism needs to be punched out from the draft constitution. That is the version of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council.
The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council GSIC has strongly disagrees with the inclusion of the “secular” or any other word that might relate to the word secular in the new constitution, saying secularizing the country is a high threat to the religious freedom and practices as “we have seen in France and some parts of the world”.
The Council strongly reaffirms its position that the “Gambia had and has never been and should never be a Secular State”.
On the other hand there are other religious groups as alluded to by GSIC who are in favor of having the word secular as they think, that is in their in favor.
Some Islamic scholars also use different platforms to preach against the Gambia becoming a secular state. These platforms include mosque podiums and other places. Some of these preaches are not based on sound education and therefore there is a need for people who are well verse with secularism to take air waves and newspaper pages to throw more light on the issue.
To say the Gambia is a non-secular state is misleading. Section 1 subsection 1 of the 1997 Constitution says: The Gambia is a Sovereign Secular Republic.
The Gambia therefore is a secular State and that has been the status for many years and it never brought any problems. All religious denominations have been practicing their various religions side by side and in some cases there were inter marriages between some of them including Muslims men marrying Christian wives, so what??
It is our strong conviction that we as Gambians must not allow the issue of secularism dive us or even lead us into some kind of serious misunderstanding.