The statements from the Gambia Christian Council and the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) are as follows:
THE GAMBIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL (GCC)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Fellow Gambians and all those residing in The Gambia.
Christian council chairperson
Greetings in the name of our Risen and victorious Lord, Jesus Christ. We continue to shout Alleluia, Alleluia especially in our beloved nation.
The Bishops and Other Members of The Gambia Christian Council (GCC) are aware of recent religious tensions trigged by the veil issue in our faith-based schools and other educational institutions and the varied and divisive rhetoric expressed about the Christian faith. We appreciate the maturity, patience and understanding demonstrated during this period and urge you to continue praying in accordance with 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 16 to 22.
The Gambia Christian Council commends the leadership demonstrated by the Minister of Religious Affairs and the members of the National Security Council in initiating an inter religious dialogue and advocating for a toning down of the rhetoric of certain actors who are commenting on behalf of their communities of faith.
The Christian Council is also aware of derogatory, unhealthy, and ill informed-pronouncements made by Mr. Momodou Sabally, the campaign manager of one of the leading political parties in our nation. These may be his personal views or those of his party. We expect the national executive of his party to dissociate the party from such unacceptable views. Consequently, we condemn in no uncertain terms those unscrupulous individuals’ derogatory comments, made in order to capitalize on this issue to score points they feel would favour their affiliations, political or religious and in the process drive a wedge between our communities who have lived in peace and harmony for centuries.
We are of the conviction that all good and responsible people living in The Gambia embrace peace, mutual tolerance and unity rather than the contrary. We stand consistent with our heritage and Jesus’ message of Justice, Peace and Truth.
Our faith-based schools owned by the Churches, as well as other educational institutions, have been taken to court. We have responded to the summons and are determined to defend the claim robustly and effectively to a logical and legal conclusion based on the Law and our Christian values, rooted in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We cannot continue to push this and other matters under the carpet. We do not want a resurgence of such issues jeopardizing our quest for national development and brighter future for The Gambia.
Finally, we encourage everyone in The Gambia to continue nurturing the Peace and cohesiveness we are known for in our beloved country.
FOR THE GAMBIA OUR HOME LAND
WE STRIVE AND WORK AND PRAY
THAT ALL MAY LIVE IN UNITY
FREEDOM AND PEACE EACH DAY.
God bless the Republic of The Gambia. God bless you all.
DATED: 10TH MAY 2023
UDP REJOINDER on Religious misunderstanding
On behalf of the UDP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE and SECRETARY GENERAL and Party Leader, I write to kindly ask all Gambians to uphold and share our nation’s commitment to harmonious relations between our two major religions.
It is rather unfortunate that Mr Momodou Sabally has made personal statements that the Gambia Christian Council found unacceptable and derogatory to their faith.
As a National Executive Committee member Mr Sabally ought to know better than to make statements that may be interpreted as offensive or inappropriate to communities, individuals, or organizations or attributable to the UDP.
To be clear, UDP upholds the Gambia’s priceless heritage of peaceful coexistence with our Christian brothers and sisters. Consequently, the United Democratic Party unreservedly disassociates itself from the comments made by Mr Sabally in the media.
Finally, on behalf of the National Executive Committee, Secretary General, and the entire membership of the UDP, we tender our sincere apologies for any offence caused to the Christian community by this matter.
LOVE LIVE NATIONAL UNITY
MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS