13 Feb Gambia: Presidential Quranic Memorization Winners Awarded
Four young Gambian Islamic scholars that emerged winners of the third Presidential Quranic Memorization Competition were on Friday afternoon at the July 22nd Square in Banjul awarded various prizes by the initiator and sponsor of the Competition, the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh.
Mustapha Yahya Darboe, a Bakoteh resident who emerged winner of this phase of the competition was presented with a cash prize of D200, 000, whilst Muhamed Nazir Cham of Kerr Jarka, Nuimi in the North Bank Region went home with a cash prize of D100, 000 as the second winner. The third prize of D50 000 was grabbed by Ebrahim Sulayman Jammeh of Tallinding, whilst Muhamed Muhamed Barry of Nema Kunku went home with D25, 000 as the fourth winner.
Coming after two successive competitions staged in 2011, the prizes of this latest academic exercise were presented on behalf of President Jammeh by the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy who presided over the brief ceremony.
Whilst many Islamic scholars described this initiative as a great boost to the propagation of the Islamic religion in the country, it also provided the opportunity to showcase the knowledge and excellence of the country’s teeming young Islamic scholars, as well as unearth the unique talents that the nation is endowed with. Like the previous competitions, the organisation of the third prize giving ceremony saw all the four young men reciting the Holy Quran off-hand much to the excitement of those present at the event, including religious leaders and a handful of former Cabinet ministers.
In a brief statement at the occasion on behalf of President Jammeh, reappointed Vice President Njie-Saidy hailed the initiative by the Gambian leader in investing into such a worthy cause, something she underscored has uplifted and promoted the propagation of Islamic knowledge in the country. She described all the participants as winners in the competition, while commending the national organising committee of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council for their efforts.While commenting on the commitment of the president to the propagation of the Islamic religion in the country through various ventures, Njie-Saidy also thanked the parents and teachers of the students for their role in making it a success.
Also speaking at the occasion, the secretary general and head of the Civil Service, Dr Njogu Bah joined Madam Njie-Saidy in underscoring the importance of the competition, staged amongst other things, to propagate the Islamic religion as well as its way of life in people. The Civil Service boss seized the opportunity to crave the indulgence of the competitors to have that sense of patriotism – stand to resist negative influences against the country, respect for elders and leaders, while thanking the SIC for the way and manner it handles the competition. He also urged parents to be sending their children to school, thus underscoring the importance of education.
Oustass Abdoulie Fatty, Imam of State House Mosque said the competition is going smoothly as desired by the benefactor, whom he praised for his unwavering commitment to the propagation of the Islamic religion in the country. Fatty, who also heads the Dawa and Ifter Committee of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council harped on the proliferation of Islamic education institutes in the country, which he said has made it easier for the citizens to acquire knowledge wherever they want.
While commending the efforts of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council in steering the affairs of the religion in the country, Imam Fatty underscored that they should be grateful to God, as this kind of initiative is rare. He then pledged their resolve to rally behind the Gambian leader as far as he is into whatever is religious as it is God that destined them to be together.
The erudite Imam concluded by acknowledging the support of the Gambian leader towards the Islamic institutions in the country, and appealed for more in this regard. He then prayed to God for the blessings and wellbeing of the benefactor of the Quranic Memorization Competition. The vice president of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council, Imam Sheikh Sheriff Badjan echoed similar sentiments and showered praises on President Jammeh for supporting such a noble cause.
Speaking at the occasion, Ebrahim Jarju, a member of the organising committee of the competition extolled the impartiality and transparent nature of the competition. Jarju recalled that when the president announced his desire to stage this competition to be spearheaded by the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council, many were sceptical about the impartiality or free and fair nature of the competition as it involves money, but expressed with delight that the sceptics have been proven wrong. “We all agree that no contestant has ever complained about the outcome of the result and that no one has ever complained that the organisers favoured their children. This competition is entirely fair and transparent,” he stated.