Editorial: UDP’s Bakary Tarawally must apologise to Imam Muhammad Lamin Touray
The constitution of the Republic of The Gambia guarantees freedom of political association for every Gambian citizen regardless of their status, yes that includes Imams and Priests too. The recent audios making the rounds on social media where a fanatical UDP supporter went on a tirade of insults directed at the person of Imam Muhammad Lamin Touray are unacceptable in a truly democratic and civilised society. The insults must be condemned by anybody who truly believes in freedom of association under the Gambian constitution. Bakary Tarawally’s insults directed at the learned Imam Ratib of Gunjur was the result of Imam Touray speaking at a meeting at a UDP political bureau where UDP leader and some top party supporters were in attendance.
Imam Touray later spoke to what appeared to be NPP supporters at his home where he clarified the circumstances in which he attended the UDP meeting which he thought was the UDP party leader’s meeting with religious leaders of the community as that was what the driver who was sent to fetch him told him, but instead found himself in a situation in which he was compelled to speak at the meeting and said things which he later regretted as some of what he said at the said meeting were not in line with his beliefs as a Muslim when it comes to those in authority, in this case, a leader of a nation. Imam Touray made it clear that he cannot be an opposition to a leader who has not prevented him or any other citizen from practicing their religion or doing good things, nor have asked them to commit bad things that are against their Islamic principles and beliefs. Based on these, and the fact that President Barrow, as far as he (Imam Touray) was concerned, is a practicing Muslim as he never misses a prayer during all the time he spent with the President touring the entire country, he Imam Touray cannot be in opposition to President Barrow.
The above pronouncement was the catalyst of the tirade of insult from a diehard USA based UDP supporter Bakary Tarawally. It could be recalled that the same Bakary Tarawally was the one who called on UDP supporters to burn down properties during the Operation Three Years Jotna debacle.
There is no place for hate speech or insult in a civilized democratic polity and we call on all well meaning UDP supporters to continue to condemn this direct insult to Gunjur’s religious leader. The UDP leadership should issue a statement and distance itself from the horrendous insults directed at the person of Imam Touray by a well known UDP stalwart, Bakary Tarawally.
Omar Diamond Darboe, also a well known UDP foot soldier denounced Bakary Tarawally’s insult on the veteran Islamic scholar and reminded Mr Tarawally that the Imam has a right to support any political party of his choice and this must be respected.
“I denounced and totally condemned an irresponsible statements by Bakary Tarawally towards Imam Muhammad Lamin Touray of Gunjur. Mr Tarawally must know that Imam Touray is entitled to his statement and free to support any political Party of his choice.“ Outraged by the insults by Bakary Tarawally, Ahmed Manjang went further and called for UDP leader, Hon. Ousainou Darboe to publicly condemn the insults directed at Imam Muhammad Lamin Touray by a supporter of the party in the person of Bakary Tarawally. His words: “ UDP’s Bakery Trawally was bang out of order for directing such vile insults towards our father and the imam Ratib of Gunjur. We expect lawyer Darboe to come out and condemn such irresponsible behavior or he will be held responsible. Gunjur youths: Is the UDP the kind of political party you want to associate yourself with? Sheikh Mohammed Lamin Touray, like lawyer Darboe and any other Gambian has the right to support any political party they like. Lawyer Darboe condoned everything President Barrow was doing while in the government, so what has changed?”
As December 4th Presidential elections approach, we call on party supporters to exercise maximum restraint as Gambia decides on who becomes their chief servant for the next five years.
Peace must prevail before and post December 4th elections as Gambia is too small for a political conflict.