The Gambia’s Communications Minister, Demba Ali Jawo said the government cannot deny the Ahmadiyya Jamaat a radio license because a precedent has already been made when Supreme Islamic Council has its own radio.
Ahmadiyya Jamaat came under fire by Sunni Muslims led by Imam Abdoulie Fatty after news broke that they have applied for a television license and have already acquired a radio license.
Imam Fatty who categorizes the Jamaat as non-Muslims claimed the radio license was given in secret, a report categorically denied by Minister Jawo.
“We know that the Supreme Islamic Council is operating a radio for which they were given a license. So that was a precedent which has already been set. So if other religious bodies applied for it, you just can’t deny them because they can always say the Supreme Islamic Council has been given a license. So this is the situation,” Jawo said.
“And the issuance of the radio license for the Ahmadiyya was never done in secret. It was very transparent and done in the normal way. In fact, people only came to know about it when the PURA revealed it.”
Jawo said the television license of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat has not reached his desk but confirmed they sect has applied to the country’s regulatory commission to be granted a license.
The Ahmadiyya Jamaat and its supporters have been facing persecution. The Ahmadis have been branded by the Supreme Islamic Council as infidels and non-believers who “want to misrepresent Islam and cause division.”
Imam Abdoulie Fatty called for the expulsion of Ahmadi Muslims from the country and for a ban on the propagation of Ahmadiyya teachings in the Gambia. Fatty and other clerics from the Supreme Islamic Council had been granted access to national television in the ex-regime to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
Although The Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow has not responded, Fatty has vowed to join forces with other Sunni-backed clerics to launch a political campaign that will oust Barrow if he prayed in a mosque commissioned by Ahmadis.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Sourcing from The Torch; Additional Writing and Editing by Sam Phatey)