By Yunus S Saliu
Attending the just concluded 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World hosted by Qatar’s Ministry of Culture held in Doha, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Hamat NK Bah, on behalf of the people of The Gambia congratulated the government of Qatar for their successful hosting the last World Cup while he as well harped on Islamic heritages, values, and inclusion.
Addressing the gathering at the two-day event organised by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Minister Hamat NK Bah thanked His Royal Highness, the Emir of Qatar Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thaniand his people for the successful holding of the World Cup to make the country proud, a tournament he described as one of the greatest ever witnessed.
“You deserve a lot of commendations thus you have proved beyond reasonable doubt which has shown your determination, unity, and your working on a common purpose. Therefore, we thank the entire Qataris and government for demonstrating their will and coexistence in delivering the World Cup,” he expressed.
In the same vein, The Minister of Tourism and Culture on behalf of the Gambia people sympathized with the people of Morocco and Libya for the last misfortune befell them.
Hon. Bah expatiated on multiple challenges facing the Islamic world that are threatening some of the valued heritages and Islamic practices that are endangering the future of the region, notably among them he said “We are facing social media, we face people who are concerted and determined to fight Islam by all sorts of means.”
But quickly disclosed the potential of the organization saying “Thank God we have an organization called ISESCO who is determined to face these challenges and I believe that these challenges once identified, we should be able to stand firm to defend our Islamic heritages, our Islamic values so that our religion, our practices continue to go from strength to strength.”
The Minister expressed with pride that Islam is gifted and lucky by having a book that cannot be modified, or has first and second versions “It is a unique book that has one meaning and our job today is to make sure that the interpretation of the Qur’an is not used by those who want to fight our religion.”
He urged everyone to make all efforts to protect the Holy Qur’an as the guiding principle of the region and this “can only happen when we are collectively together, united in delivering the goodwill that is expected of us.”
Hon. Bah used the medium to thank ISESCO for standing with all the materials and all the necessary tools and weapons in promoting and defending the values of Islam saying “As governments, we must make sure that we assume our responsibilities in doing the needful in promoting and developing strategies to unite the Islamic Ummah. We have started seeing great unity coming from most of the Arab World and they have started seeing also a means to fight fundamental people who are aimed to derail this religion and its values. With unity, we will move forward and create an atmosphere of stability and peace for all.”
However, The Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture ended his speech by iterating the need to include all Islamic races in organizing future promotional videos to demonstrate Islamic values and heritages thus Islam is not for only Arabs but it is universal “It belongs to everyone.”
Meanwhile, Minister Bah reminded the meeting that The Gambia has submitted three Traditional Board Games for Inscription into the ICESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List through the NCAC, and also, The Gambia Parliament has ratified the 1970 and 2001 UNESCO Convention’s to protect heritage.
Minister Hamat NK Bah was accompanied to the conference by the Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) – Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) – Aboubacarr Camara, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) – Hassan Jallow and also the Gambia High Commission to Qatar HE Foday Malang
The 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World hosted by Qatar’s Ministry of Culture organised by Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) conference was held under the theme “Toward Renewing Cultural Work in the Islamic World”.