Those who profess to be Muslims are in the majority in Senegal Mali and even Indonesia but these countries are all Secular Republics. Indonesia has over 196 Million people or 95 percent of the population who profess to be Muslims.
Leopold Senghore, who was not a Muslim by belief, led Senegal without any adverse effect on its Muslim population and handed over power to AbdouJoof, who is considered to be a Muslim.
In a Secular Republic, citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of their gender, ethno-linguistic origin, religion or colour.
The Constitution is adopted at a referendum and must contain provisions which guarantee freedom of belief and worship. Laws are made by members of Parliament, enforced by the police and administered by the courts.
The Gambia is currently a sovereign Republic. Section 4 which is an entrenched clause states: “The Constitution is the Supreme law of the Gambia and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution shall to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
Under the constitution, all Gambians are equal before the law. Any Gambian irrespective of religion, gender or ethno-linguistic origin could be President, Minister or member of the National Assembly.
Now could President Jammeh tell the Gambian what changes his declaration will bring to the Gambian constitution and the system of government which now prevails in the country?
As it stands, we have only declaration from a rally of political supporters. One does not see any Cabinet white paper on the subject. Nothing is issued in writing. It is difficult to take him seriously until something tangible is put on paper.
So far Julbrew is still brewing its beers. No hands have been amputated for conviction of theft. TheJammeh Foundation is even holding a musical jamboree as fund raising activity.
We are still waiting for the sign of the Islamic state, its constitution, institutions and practices. One is tempted to believe that just like the campaign for a monarchy, this is another survival tactic initiated by the executive while studying how the people would react.