Gambia president declares country an Islamic republic

BANJUL Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh on Friday declared the formerly secular nation an Islamic republic in a move he mentioned was designed to distance the West African state additional from its colonial past.

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

“In line with the country’s religious identity and values, I proclaim Gambia as an Islamic state,” mentioned Jammeh on state tv. “As Muslims are the majority in the nation, the Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy,” he added.

Gambia’s population of 1.eight million individuals is 95 % Muslim. He stated that other citizens of other faiths would nevertheless be in a position to practice.

Jammeh, an animated orator who has earned the reputation for creating 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 discovered a herbal remedy for AIDS.

In spite of powerful commercial ties with Britain and other European nations whose citizens are regular guests to Gambia’s white-sand beaches, relations with the West have deteriorated in current years.

The European Union temporarily withheld aid income to the nation final year over Gambia’s poor human rights record. Gambia, whose principal industries are agriculture and tourism, ranks 165 out of 187 countries on the U.N. improvement index.

“Starved of improvement funds simply because of his deplorable human rights record and financial mismanagement, Jammeh is hunting toward the Arab world as substitute for and source of development help,” mentioned blogger Sidi Sanneh, a former foreign minister who has turn out to be a U.S.-primarily based dissident.

(Writing by Emma Farge Editing by James Dalgleish)

Agen Sabung Ayam