The Gunjur Village Development Committee says it is privy to a document purportedly from Sheikh Omar Futi Taal Foundation and Imam Baba Leigh, which has been renamed one of the village’s religious sites without the community’s consent.
The committee vowed that it would not tolerate this, as it tantamounts to obliterating an important part of their history.
It said the foundation wants to change the name of one of the religious sites in Guntur called Keñe Keñe Jaamengo to Sheikh Omar Futi Taal Shrine/Mosque.
The motivation is to drive out the Arabic Islamic students who are using the place, and turn it into a shrine for profit, the committee alleged and has said it will not allow that.
It insists the original name of the place be maintained as part of Gunjur’s historical identity.
The religious site started to attract thousands of people from across the sub-region in the early 2000s, before former President Yahya Jammeh stopped the activities of the foundation there, and built a multi-million Dalasi mosque at the site.
The seaside shrine is famed as one of the places visited by Sheikh Omar Futi Taal when he visited The Gambia and is revered by Tijaniyya followers.
Meanwhile, Imam Baba Leigh was contacted and told The Alkamba Times (TAT) that the villagers reserve the right to decide how their places should be named.
“This is an indigenous matter in which I don’t want to interfere. We aimed to create more visibility for the place. We think Sheikh Omar Futi Taal Mosque was a good approach to achieving this, remember people come from all over the sub-region and beyond,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hamat Bah, sometime last year told TAT that the government was working on building a hotel near the site to promote religious tourism there.