Eid-ul Fitr (Koriteh) Observed Peacefully on Different Days

By Kebba Jeffang

Muslims throughout the Gambia have celebrated the feast of Eid ul Fitr, commonly called ‘Koriteh’, to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan on different days through the country without rancour. The feast was observed on both Friday, 17 July, and Saturday, 18 July, in different parts of the country.

Unlike last year’s feast, the aftermath of which was characterised by arrests of people for the alleged violation of a presidential order banning the holding of prayers on two different days, the weekend events passed of peacefully without such incidents.

The incident such as the arrest and subsequent trial of the former alkalo and the marabout both of Sangajor village for defying the Supreme Islamic Council’s (SIC) announcement was absent.

Following a similar pattern as last year’s, people living in Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and the West Coast Region have generally observed the feast on Friday while those in other parts of the country had marked the day on Saturday. However, the reason advanced by those who prayed on Friday is that since the time difference with Saudi Arabia is only three hours, the Gambia should be praying on the same day with them. As for those who prayed the following day, their argument is that the Quran states that one should pray only if one has sighted the moon or when a fellow Muslim close to you had seen it or else one should pray the next day.

It could be recalled that it was on the 28 July last year on the annual courtesy call on the executive at state house by the members of the Banjul Muslim Elders Committee and Supreme Islamic Council that the president asked the council to put a stop to praying on two different days. Shortly after this pronouncement, the alkalo and marabout were arrested, detained and later arraigned in court.  However, the duo was acquitted and discharged after a nine month trial.