As consultations on the first draft Constitution are winding down, The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC) on Tuesday reaffirmed its vehement opposition to inserting the word “Secular” in the country’s law, with one cleric describing Secularism as “a real time bomb.”
“If it is inserted against the will of the majority, is it no a defeat of democracy?,” renowned Islamic Scholar Sheikh Hama Jaiteh quizzed during a news conference held at GSIC headquarters in Kanifing.
Last month, the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) issued the first draft Constitution for public consultation. The 11-member panel reiterated its commitment to ensuring that the “constitutional review process continues to be guided by the pinciples of transparency, participation, inclusiveness, representation and national ownership.”
In an attempt to deconstruct what he described as “misinformation” that is now being spewed out by those pushing ahead with a ‘Secularism’ agenda, Sheikh Jaiteh warned Muslims against what he perceived as carrying “a very powerful, ideological, moral destruction dimension.”
“Secularism is a real time bomb !” Jaiteh exclaimed.
Far from mincing his words, Sheikh Hama Jaiteh said when the word “Secular” is inserted in the Constitution, the entire constitutional system will collapse.
However, he indicated that when the word is expunged from the Constitution, the whole constitutional system will remain “intact, pure and consecrated.”
Similar sentiments were reechoed by Imam Ousman Jah who called on the drafters to ensure that the Constitution remains silent on the issue of Secularism.
Imam Jah, who is a leading voice of the Supreme Islamic Council, said the peaceful coexistence between people from different religions highly depends on the silence of the Constitution about Secularism.
“Since the word “Secular” has been raised, it became an issue all over the place. The entire country is being held back by Secularism,” he said.
Meanwhile, a GSIC position paper, seen by this medium, reminded the CRC about the highest Muslim body’s 2018 rejection of Secularism. The Council wanted the country to remain a non-Secular state.
“We have good intention of protecting norms and values of all religions in The Gambia. The draft law provides sufficient provisions that protect all faiths,” GSIC added.