Harmonious, free and neutral? Constitutional Debates on Secularism in The Gambia
Category: Student Theses

After the fall of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who gained worldwide notoriety for his grotesque instrumentalisation of Islam, a bitter debate broke out in the small West African country during public consultations on the drafting of a new constitution (2018-2020) on the public position of religion in the new state. According to the Christian Council, the state’s commitment to secularism should definitively prevent religious conflicts, whereas the Supreme Islamic Council believes that Gambia can maintain religious plurality through a neutral state even in the absence of an explicit commitment to secularism. Both camps are influenced in their thinking by historical memories as well as regional political contexts. Furthermore, the simultaneous reform and expansion of Islamic law in the national judicial system also touched the debates to a significant degree. How do the concerns of both camps about constitutional reform proposals concerning religion manifest themselves against this background and in mutual discursive interaction? This is the question this study aims to analytically explore through archival research of online contributions by Gambian stakeholders during the period of constitutional deliberations.

You can download the paper in German here. Unfortunately, the paper is only available in German, we apologise for any inconvenience.

2 June 2021, Abdurrahman Yazici
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