Gambia president declares country an Islamic republic

The tiny sliver of a country joins the ranks of other Islamic Republics such as Iran and Afghanistan.

By REUTERS
December 13, 2015 07:13
1 minute read.
President of Gambia

Al Hadji Yahya Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 25, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BANJUL - Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh on Friday declared the formerly secular country an Islamic republic in a move he said was designed to distance the West African state further from its colonial past.

The tiny sliver of a country, named after the river from which British ships once allegedly fired cannonballs to fix its borders, joins the ranks of other Islamic Republics such as Iran and Afghanistan.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"In line with the country's religious identity and values, I proclaim Gambia as an Islamic state," said Jammeh on state television. "As Muslims are the majority in the country, the Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy," he added.

Gambia's population of 1.8 million people is 95 percent Muslim. He said that other citizens of other faiths would still be able to practice.

Jammeh, an animated orator who has earned the reputation for making surprise declarations over the course of his 21-year presidency, pulled Gambia out of the Commonwealth in 2013, calling it neo-colonial. In 2007, he claimed to have found a herbal cure for AIDS.



Despite strong commercial ties with Britain and other European countries whose citizens are regular visitors to Gambia's white-sand beaches, relations with the West have deteriorated in recent years.



The European Union temporarily withheld aid money to the country last year over Gambia's poor human rights record. Gambia, whose main industries are agriculture and tourism, ranks 165 out of 187 countries on the UN development index.

"Starved of development funds because of his deplorable human rights record and economic mismanagement, Jammeh is looking towards the Arab world as substitute for and source of development aid," said blogger Sidi Sanneh, a former foreign minister who has become a US-based dissident.Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh on Friday declared the formerly secular country an Islamic republic in a move he said was designed to distance the West African state further from its colonial past.

Related Content

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
July 21, 2018
Khamenei backs blocking Gulf oil exports if Iranian sales stopped

By REUTERS