Gambia’s PresidentAdama Barrow has asked citizens of the tiny West African state to forgive him for his shortcomings as their leader and for their prayers as he left Banjul for Mecca.
Mr. Barrow, 52, is a devout Muslim and will be performing the Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam for the first time.
“Hajj is once in a life time obligation on all Muslims who can afford it. Tonight, I will travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj,” Barrow said.
“I seek for forgiveness and prayers as I embark on this holy journey to perform one of the pillars of Islam.”
Barrow is a humble and soft-spoken leader. It is the first time in decades that Gambians have heard their leader seek forgiveness and ask for their prayers.
Barrow replaced Yahya Jammeh, an iron-fist ruler notorious for swearing at citizens and carrying out threats to kill them.
President Barrow will be arriving in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. It is his second time in the Kingdom, where he took part in the Islamic-American Summit in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.