Opinion | The ‘Veil’ Issue in The Gambia

| Community Leader, Philip Saine sheds light on ongoing ‘veil’ issue, urges vigilance against extremist ideologies packaged as something else |

By Phillip Saine

The Veil Civil Suit in the Gambia initiated by ‘Concerning Citizens’ came as a surprise to many but never-the-less does not surprise many Gambians who are versed with their disturbing agenda. At this stage of Gambia development, it would have been thought that ‘Concerning Citizens’, rather than striving for the wearing of veils at schools, they should have spent time and energy to upgrade standards of education, provision of appropriate school learning materials, device ways to improve on school transportation, improving on school performance and examination results. These would have been most ideal tenants for contest for an honest and concerned citizen.

It is apparent that the veil issue harmonizes well with the attempt to pursue the ‘Islamic State’ agenda started under Ex-President Jammeh, and his invitation of the controversial preacher, Zakir Naik, and the illegal declaration of The Gambia an Islamic State in breach of the Constitution (Dec. 2015 Brufut Declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic State). This was followed by Lobbyists during the consultation process of the failed 2020 Draft Constitution seeking that non-Muslim parties be subjected to the jurisdiction of the Sharia in total disregard for the religious rights of Christians and also the refusal to entrench ‘Clause 10’ of the same draft constitution, leaving an open door for subsequent erosion of all other sources of Gambian law but Shariah. All these are constantly being reinforced by numerous pronouncement provocatively emphasizing that The Gambia is a Muslim majority and therefore a ‘Muslim country’. This statement is erroneously premised on personal conviction that The Gambia is an ‘Islamic State’.

Dictatorship of the Majority could have happened the world-over except in little Gambia. Despite its small population, The Gambia has equal voting rights at the United Nations (UN), being the tiniest country in West Africa, yet granted equal membership at the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS). The Gambia rightfully challenged the Myanmar Government's mistreatment of the Rohingya minority ethnic group, to the International Court of Justice. The notion of dictatorship of the majority, therefore, should have never being conceived in The Gambia.  


These attitudes are similar in intent to the video recordingaired on GTTV and circulated on social media in which the Alkalo of Babylon village (July 2021) openly and publicly declared having denied and would deny the resident Christian community from building a place of worship (i.e. churches) and would not allocate them land for such a purpose. 

Then followed the attack on two churches; The Grace of God Ministry, (Tallinding April 7th 2023) and Star of the Sea Church (Bakau 9th April 2023).

Many Muslims in The Gambia give Christian names to their children and so too many Christians give Muslim names to their children. There are intermarriages and deep family ties. These are partly responsible for the mutual understanding and respect for each other. This however, is being eroded and there is strong believe that this is due to intruders that infiltrated recently and who have no understanding of the dynamics that kept communities tightly together. All who live in the country, particularly in Greater Banjul, must be aware and vigilant of such infiltration into society and be ready to repel them in prayer and understanding that we owe it to ourselves and future generation to maintain our traditional believe, ways of life and patriotism. 

There is need to identify and isolate both homegrown and foreign-based extremist ideology. The Gambia can and should learn from what has been happening in Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria and organizations like Al Qa’ada, Al Shabab and Boko Haram. It is One Gambia that we inherited from our parents and grandparents. We should cherish what we have and firmly belief in it. Gambia can be a wonderful place to live in. May we remain steadfast and filled with love for our country and its people.


About Author 

Philip Saine is a Gambian social commentator, community leader and writer. 

Facebook: Philip Saine

Publisher’s note:

Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. Want to be a contributing author? Please email opmail220@gmail.com



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