Gambia UPDATE: Ban on preacher lifted with stricter conditions

The politically motivated ban imposed on Bakawsu Fofana, a popular Muslim cleric by the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC), a coalition of Muslim associations in The Gambia was lifted with a stern warning issued to him by President Yahya Jammeh.

President Jammeh during a reconciliation meeting between Fofana and the leadership of the SIC held in his office warned Fofanah to refrain from his manner of propagation, which according to him, was characterised by incitement and agitation to cause confusion among Muslims in The Gambia.

The meeting was facilitated by the Ministry of Interior and the NGO Affairs following a request by Fofanah to President Jammeh to intervene in the impasse between him and the SIC.

“What I want to tell you is that this will be your first and last chance. I will appeal to SIC to revoke the ban, but if it occurs again, that will be an issue between you and me,” Jammeh warned Bakawsu.

President Jammeh then ordered Fofanah to apologise to the SIC. Fofanah became an ardent critic of the SIC after he lost his bid to be the President of the Council.

According to President Jammeh, his government has given the SIC a mandate to steer the affairs of Islam in the country and that it is the only body with authority to regulate problems and urged Imam Fofanah to respect the decisions of the institution and its leadership

The SIC at an emergency meeting on September 16, resolved that Fofanah should be banned from engaging in any religious activity in the country. According to him, the ban resulted in mass boycott of his school and his mosque.

The meeting presided over by President Jammeh brought together leaders of the Supreme Council and Cabinet members of the administration.

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