THE GAMBIAN EXPERIENCE COMPARED TO THE SENEGALESE ON EID PRAYERS IMAM OF SANGAJOR HAS PASSED AWAY

Senegal has more established Islamic sects than the Gambia. The religious leaders of these sects commemorated Eid ul Fitr on different days, but the state has not intervened.

In the Gambia, the state did intervene to determine which side of the country could pray on one day and which could pray on a different day. Hence some who prayed on the same day could be arrested while others are freed from any legal burden.

It is extremely difficult if not impossible to explain the religious basis of this duplicity. To avoid confusion, the state should revisit the decision and stop all legal action against anyone whose only crime is to decide to pray on a day not preferred by government officials.

Instead the religious leaders should engage in discussion on religious teaching and practice so as to promote harmony in religious practice through persuasive influence rather than through coercion or force. This is the way to enhance religious freedom.