Gambia government spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh last week delivered a statement before some 40,000 people from across the globe who converged on Alton, Hampshire, UK to grace the annual Jalsa Salana of Ahmadiyya Jama'at where he emphasised President Adama Barrow government's promotion of free speech and religious tolerance.
He said since their arrival, The Gambian team were privileged to not only meet but warmly interact with the finest minds from across the universe, men and women of great character, discipline and accomplishments from across the disciplines.
Mr. Sankareh said it is the spirit of cordiality and dedication to humanity that underpins the strong bond between The Gambia Government, its people and the Ahmadiyaa Jama'at. "President Adama Barrow, his Government and The Gambian people are highly impressed and profoundly appreciative of the Ahmadiyya Jama'at's remarkable contributions to our country's development agenda. What began as a small missionary unit half a century ago, has now blossomed into a tremendous force to reckon with from across every spectra of Gambian life."
He said the Ahmadiyya schools continue to play crucial roles in the education, molding and character formation of many Gambian young scholars and their graduates occupy key positions in both Government and the private sector. "It's humbling to reveal that I am a product of Nusrat High School; the first ever high school built by the Jama'at and modeled along a classical English academy. I reminisce with great nostalgia, our English teacher constantly paraphrasing the English lexicographer, Samuel Johnson; that "one ought to be tired of learning if one were tired of Nusrat high school".
Spokesperson Sankareh further told the gathering that looking back, several decades after his Nusrat days, he cannot but be grateful to his Alma Mater and The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at for not only exposing his colleagues and himself to the rigors of academic learning but for the spirit of discipline and responsibility which remains the hallmark of the Nusrat curriculum.
He said in the last two decades, even in the face of tyranny; a very difficult and repressive regime under the thumb of a totalitarian despot that exiled key members of the Jama'at, 'the Nusrat model' has blossomed across The Gambia. "Today we have Nusrat, Nasir, Tahir, Masroor, and Mbolum Ahmadiyya Senior Secondary Schools. For a poor sub-Saharan country like The Gambia where high school education remains a privilege for so many families, The Gambia government and its people are most grateful to the Jama'at for their significant contribution towards Gambian education."
Mr. Sankareh said similarly in the health sector, the Jama'at has built hospitals and clinics with highly qualified doctors and technicians providing health care to many, many families who do not have the luxury of paying exorbitant health care fees in private hospitals. "The schools and hospitals combined continue to play key roles in The Gambian economy because they provide employment to hundreds of Gambian graduates and medics who could have otherwise been unemployed."
He said as The Gambia forges ahead moving in the spirit of the adage --"Pro Deo Et Humanitatea"--for God and humanity, he can assure on behalf of President Adama Barrow that all doors are open to the Ahmadiyya Jama'at, saying under President Barrow, The Gambia has returned to the comity of civilized nations; a secular constitutional democracy that promotes the values of free speech, religious tolerance and due process. "We appeal that you continue to bring your best minds, your brains and your best hands to lift The Gambia to amazing heights in peace and love."