Monday, December 24, 2007

Fellow Gambians,

Once again we are privileged to celebrate another Eid ul Adha locally known as Tobaski. On this auspicious occasion, I wish to extend to all, on behalf of my family and indeed my entire government, warmest greetings, sincere best wishes and congratulations.

Eid ul-Adha, or “the Feast of Sacrifice” marks the end to the sacred Hajj ceremony. Well over two million people women and men of all ages, languages, colours and backgrounds have in recent days congregated in the Holy city of Mecca to commemorate the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim (May Allah’s peace and blessing be with him).

Today as we celebrate the feast of  Eid ul Adha, let us make a commitment to fight for peace, justice and selfless sacrifice for the well-being of our children, our parents, our neighbours, our fellow human beings in general and Muslims in particular.

Let us seize this opportunity to strengthen the Muslim brotherhood with parents, relatives, neighbours and even enemies to make amends and turn a new page.

Fellow Gambians, let us live like true believers in Islam and avoid being pre-occupied with excessive greed at the expense of millions of human lives. The world today is indeed in need of the example of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) for greater justice and strength to resist the vices of hate, racism and exploitation. The senseless wars and civil unrests ravaging countries around the world are all testimony to the faithlessness and greed of mankind.

I pray that this Eid ul Adha renews our determination and spirit of sarifice in the loving memory of Prophet Ibrahim to work for the greater good, for a brighter future and a more progressive and prosperous Gambia.  As we celebrate, also, let us remember those in distress and those who, because of violence and war, could not celebrate the feast of Eid ul Adha. If we remember them in our prayers, we will work towards maintaining a stable and peaceful Gambia.

Without peace, you cannot even worship the Almighty Allah.  It is unfortunate in The Gambia that this is the moment some people choose to profit at the expense of others, where things that were normally reasonable, all of a sudden, the price goes up and up because Muslims need it.

Some people have even decided to sell a ram for 22,000 Dalasis. This is unacceptable. As from now, whatever feast it is, if people are bent on making excessive profits at the expense of the people, there will be a price to pay for such greed.

Those who are selling ram at excessive prices should rest assured that we will deal with you later in the year because we have already taken note of those who are responsible and this practice will not be tolerated in this country. For those who are Gambian, there will be penalties to pay because we already know who you are.

If you exploit people because of the feast of Tobaski, you will pay back to the people. I have decided not to give scholarships to your children because you are exploiting the people. If you are a foreigner, you will pay all the taxes due to aliens without exception.

You will also pay higher fees for public health facilities because you want to make money out of the people, whatever you have extorted from the people. Good Muslim or non-Muslim this is not a time to extort money from the people.

This is a country of peace and love. This is a country of tolerance, this is a country of God-fearing people and we will not allow a few greedy individuals to inculcate in the minds of young Gambians this rotten behaviour of exploiting people when it is time for religious ceremonies.

We should also remember, as parents, that no matter what we say, the future of this country can only be great when we take care of our children and show them the right path, and encourage discipline and respect for authority and people that live around us. Unless children in this country are disciplined and love each other, there will be no bright future for this country.

It is the duty of we parents, especially the male parents, to look after our children so that tomorrow, they can grow up to become responsible citizens of this country, responsible Muslims, who will love and embrace all aspects of humanity, rather than hostile, misguided Muslims who will continue to kill people around the world. On this note, I wish you all Eid Mubarak, Dewinaty, Happy and Peaceful Tobaski.

May Allah continue to guide, protect and bless The Gambia, our Motherland.

Author: DO