The clerics at the Supreme Islamic Council have started a sectarian campaign against the Ahmadiyya group in The Gambia, petitioning the country’s regulatory authority to deny the Islamic sect a television license.
The leader of the clerics, Momodou Lamin Touray and the country’s chief Imam, Cherno Alieu Mass Kah have joined forces to launch a petition objecting to the granting of television license to the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.
“The television could be used a powerful propaganda tool to adulterate the minds of the Ummah by a movement, which has been classified by the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to be outside the pale of Islam,” a statement said.
“The grant of such a propaganda tool to this organization is as such considered to pose an existential threat to the Muslim Ummah in The Gambia as well as neighboring countries.”
The Supreme Islamic Council have had a long history of extremist campaigns against the Ahmadiyya. They have often backed the ousted regime of dictator Yahya Jammeh, whose maiming and killing of Gambians they supported.
Although the Gambia is a secular state, Jammeh’s regime had denied access to state media to publicize their religious activities. They have reported being attacked, harassed and threatened with beatings and killings.
Clerics from the Supreme Islamic Council supported denying Ahmadis access to the Tallinding cemetery, sparking tensions between the Ahmadis and other Muslims in the neighborhood just nine miles outside Banjul.
They had previously demanded the excavation of an Ahmadi body from the same cemetery. The Gambia’s first black governor, Sir Farimang Singhateh was Ahmadiyaa, showing how long the Muslim sect has been in mainland Africa’s smallest country.
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.
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.