The president of the Republic (of The Gambia) has once again denounced the use of the noble Islamic religion by “extremists” as a coat to engage in violent activities that are catastrophic and done in the name of “so-called jihad” waged on innocent people, especially Muslims. He denounced these acts as unIslamic, stressing that the religion is not violent as “there is no compulsion to Islam”.
His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh was speaking Friday afternoon at State House grounds in Banjul, while handing over prizes to the female winners of the Presidential Qur’anic Memorisation Competition, which he sponsored. Zeinab Muhammed Cham of Madarasa Daara Arham in Sinchu Alagie emerged as the winner of the female Under-19 category of the competition and was presented with a cash prize of D1M; whilst Mariam Yahya Darboe of the Isha Umul Mumineen Memorisation School in Wellingara went home with a cash prize of D500, 000 as the second winner. The third place was grabbed by Hassanatou Abdourahman Jallow of Daara Ibrahim Sallah in Wellingara, who received a consolation prize of D250, 000.
This second phase of the competition came barely more than a month after similar prizes were awarded to the male winners of the first competition. Whilst many described this initiative as a great boost to the propagation Islam in the country, the initiative also provided the opportunity to showcase the knowledge and excellence of the country’s young Islamic scholars, as well as unearth the unique talents that the nation is endowed with. Like the male winners, the female winners equally amazed people present at the event, which also included Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Republic, Madam Zeineb Yahya Jammeh, Cabinet ministers and other dignitaries with their unique and melodious recitation of the Holy Qur’an off-hand.