By Basirou Conteh
The trial of the Caliph General of Dasilameh caliphate continued at Brikama Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, with the third prosecution witness returning to the witness box. A police constable posted at Bwiam Police Station, Seedy Saidykhan, had earlier testified in the case of Caliph Sheikh Muhideen Hydara and Buyeh Touray.
The duo was represented by Lawyers Lamin Mboge, Lamin Camara and Borry Touray.
Under cross-examination by the defence team, Mr. Saidykhan admitted knowing the first accused as the Caliph General of Dasilameh Sanghajor. “I also know that by the position he holds, he has a strong religious influence not only to the ‘Sheriff’ but the entire Muslim ummah,” Mr. Saidykhan said. “I equally know that by his position he has a lot of followers in the Gambia. I know also that the practice of the religion is different from political administration. I know every religion is headed by religious leaders and that the first accused person is one of those leaders. It is the religious leaders who made decision in religious matters.”
Saidykhan said imams in the Gambia performed the Eid prayers on different days. He was not aware of anyone being arrested even though people performed the last Eid prayaers on different days.
The witness did not know whether the announcement made by the GRTS was a directive or a court order. “I do not equally know whether the information came from the parliament.” He could not corroborate whether the accused persons have heard the information broadcast by GRTS. The witness added that the Chief of Foni Kansala is not the religious leader of the village.
He agreed that there is no compulsion in religion and that Eid-ul Fitr prayer depends on sighting of the moon. “I also agree that all the people in the Gambia cannot see the moon the same time and day. I know that people perform their daily prayers on different times due to time factor (time difference). It is only God who is responsible for time change and no creature.”
The witness said it is beyond his knowledge to say the accused persons prayed to anything other than God. He said it is not an offence to pray on any other day.
At this stage, the presiding Principal Magistrate Omar Cham adjourned the case to December 9th for continuation.