New Draft of Gambian Constitution Concerns Christians

12/10/2019 The Gambia (International Christian Concern) – The Gambia, a small African country on the North Atlantic coastline, proposed a draft of a new constitution on November 15. In a Muslim-majority nation of nearly 96%, Christians are concerned about the future of the country with changing laws.

Just three years ago in 2016, the 22-year reign of President Yahya Jammeh ended. The current constitution, ratified in 1997 under former President Jammeh, permits Islamic law in personal affairs. Jammeh declared the Gambia an Islamic Republic in the remaining months before he was ousted. However, the proposed new constitution establishes a full Sharia High Court system that ties religion and state together.

Though there are benefits in the current draft constitution, including guarantees like freedom of the press, access to public information and presidential term limits, Gambian Christians like Pastor Seal of the Christian Council in Gambia, fear the implications. Pastor Seal pleaded the country and others to look into the issue critically.

Some Gambian Christians have also announced their belief that it would be better and safer for The Gambia to remain a secular state. Muslim converts to the Christian faith are potentially more vulnerable should the current draft pass. The Christian Council of Gambia is requesting inclusion in the formation of the final constitution, noting their desire for a secular and diverse nation.

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