Yahya Jammeh Declares Gambia An Islamic State | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Yahya Jammeh Declares Gambia An Islamic State

Posted: Dec 12, 2015 at 4:37 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh, has declared the country an Islamic republic.

The decision which comes amid criticisms, according to Jammeh is intended to break the country away from influence of its colonial past.

Announcing this on state television Friday, Jammeh said, “In line with the country’s religious identity and values, I proclaim Gambia as an Islamic state.”

“As Muslims are the majority in the country, the Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy,” he added.

He said that this does not stop people of other religions in the country, saying other citizens of other faiths would still be able to practise.

The tiny country with a population of 1.8 million people is 95 percent Muslim.

Gambia was named after the river from which British ships once allegedly fired cannonballs to fix its borders. With this latest action of the president, it joins the ranks of other Islamic Republics such as Iran and Afghanistan. The country , whose main industries are agriculture and tourism, ranks 165 out of 187 countries on the U.N. development index.

Jammeh is reputed for taking controversial e decisions. One of such was the decision to withdraw Gambia from the Commonwealth in 2013, calling it neo-colonial. In 2007, he claimed to have found a herbal cure for AIDS.

The European Union temporarily withheld aid money to the country last year over Gambia’s poor human rights record.