The Gambia’s parliament is expected to convene an extraordinary session on Wednesday to declare the 15th day of Ramadan as Orphan’s Day in the Islamic world.
An executive directive from the Office of the President said the declaration is in line with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC’s) request for its member states and humanitarian organizations to observer and celebrate the day.
The OIC in June appealed to all its Member States and humanitarian organizations to undertake all kinds of relevant actions to raise awareness on the issues of orphans and their needs, on the occasion of the Orphan’s Day in the Islamic World, which is set for the 15th of Ramadan, after a resolution was passed in Conakry in 2013.
The Gambia is the world’s newest Islamic nation after a unilateral declaration by President Yahya Jammeh in January. Mr Jammeh said he was breaking from his colonial past but economist say with funds from the EU and other Western nations fast declining, the African strongman is quickly looking for new donors in the Arab world. The Gambia’s economy is faced with a heavy debt burden, which has reached 100% of the gross domestic product, according to IMF data.
Gambia’s check book diplomacy with Libya, Iran and Taiwan punched a hole in its economy. The freezing of more than 32 million Euros from the EU, death of Ghadaffi and the collapse of a USD $2 billion trade deal with Iran left Jammeh with very few options but to play the Islamist card to get new allies.
The Supreme Islamic Council is yet to make any comments about the Orphan’s Day declaration but they are expected to widely welcome it like most Gambians unlike a quickly rescinded executive order for female civil servants to cover their head, which angered pro-democracy and gender activists.