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Gambia Hosts First-Ever Intra Religious Conference

7 DECEMBER 2022

– agency report

The Gambia held its first ever Africa intra-religious conference that attracted guests from 54 different African countries, including religious leaders, government officials and political actors to discuss peace and tolerance.

The conference organised by Muslim World League dubbed ‘African Ulamas and Religious Affairs Ministers’, was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre in Bijilo yesterday while bringing together different social and professional backgrounds to network and deliberate under the theme: ‘Promotion of Peace, Understanding, and Unity among Communities and Nations’.

Delivering the opening remarks, President Adama Barrow highlighted that as wars and conflicts of various types ruin lives and bring suffering to the global community, there could be no better theme for the occasion than the above.

The President stated that the complexities confronting the globe have a telling effect on religion, making the tasks of the Muslim Ulama profoundly complex and enormous.

“Because life is wholesome, it is impractical to divorce religious beliefs from culture and social settings, or religious obligations from civic responsibilities. We must blend and balance the two sides of life harmoniously to succeed both ways. Reflecting on the continent, Africa has been the object of infiltration and exploitation of various forms. It has been a battleground for contending world powers and the epicentre of ethnic rivalry and conflict, leading to the fluidity of our cultures and values,” he said.Close

With the infiltration of various influences, he added that Muslims continue to be divided into different sects and even fight each other like enemies. Despite all fears and challenges, he said, there are lots of opportunities to reverse these trends.

He said formal educational institutions, for instance, have the potential to strengthen Islamic knowledge and complement efforts to preserve the main teachings of Islam.

“Muslims, especially the youth and elite, also have many options to build their capacity, balance their worldview and values, and resist adopting non-Islamic ways of life. Through these openings, more African Muslims, including scholars, can serve as agents of peace and unity to further fortify Islam and the fabric of African communities and nations,” he further added.

Dr. Momodou Tangara, the Foreign Affairs Minister, extolled President Barrow’s efforts in the promotion of peace and tolerance in the country while stating that “his capacity to listen to tolerate views is one of his strengths.”

He explained that the conference came at the right moment to triggering and battling conversation between scholars. According to Minister Tangara, different scholars at the recently concluded United Nations conference on civilisation say civilisation cannot clash.

“Cultures and civilisations are meant to enlighten people, defeat the bad forces and help people live in harmony,” he stated.

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