Gambia: Tension flares between Islamic sects in Tallinding

Gambia: Tension flares between Islamic sects in Tallinding

Tension flared between Sunni Muslims and Ahmadiyyas outside the Gambia’s capital after some youths refused the Ahmadis access to a cemetery in Tallinding.

Authorities deployed a squad of police officers to contain the situation and avoid further escalation as a clash broke out.

“The Ahmadiyya want to bury their late brother but the youth insist that they don’t belong to the Muslim faith,” reported human rights activist Lamin K. Saidy.

The Ahmadis were later allowed to bury the man, a member of their sect, who passed away that morning.

The Supreme Islamic Council, a group of powerful Islamic clerics that supported denying Ahmadis access to the Tallinding cemetery are deliberating over the issue.

They had previously demanded the excavation of an Ahmadi body from the same cemetery.

Clerics from the council has called them “infidels” and asked for their expulsion from the country and for the Jammeh government to bring an end to the propagation of their practice of Islam.

They were denied access to state media to publicize their religious activities.

Ahmadis in Gambia are most based in the Tallinding area, where they have built a hospital to give healthcare to the people and a high school in a nearby township.

They have reported being attacked, harassed and threatened with beatings and killings.

Gambia’s laws provide every person the right to practice any religion, as long as doing so does not impinge on the rights of others or on the national interest. It prohibits religious discrimination, the establishment of a state religion, and religiously-based political parties.

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