The Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, has pledged reforms, including removing laws which violate freedom of religion.
In December 2015, ex-president Yahya Jammeh had declared the West African country an Islamic republic, saying the decision was made because Islam is the religion of most citizens, raising fear among Christians and human rights groups.
Speaking at his first news conference since returning to take office on Thursday (26 Jan), Barrow said the country’s official name will no longer contain the word “Islamic”.
The new president said The Gambia, whose population is 90 per cent Muslim, with the rest Christian and animist, was a republic, “not the Islamic republic”.
Gambia’s official name will no longer be ‘The Islamic Republic’. It will hold the name of — The Republic of The Gambia. #Gambia pic.twitter.com/OqbFsIypzI
— Adama Barrow (@adama_barrow) January 29, 2017
Fr. Peter Lopev from the Diocese of Banjul told the UK’s Premier Radio station the victory was an answer to prayer.
“For many Christians, this is like a heavy load that is lifted from our heads,” he said.
Source: Al Jazeera