Religious tensions at Ann Marie School as Muslim students face denial to pray on school premises

The photo of Muslim students praying on the school grounds despite the Vice Principal's instructions not to.

By: Alieu Ceesay 

Renewed religious tensions have surfaced at the Anne Marie River Basic Cycle School in Kity, Kombo South of the West Coast Region, spotlighting the issue of religious intolerance in Gambian schools. Allegations have emerged that the Vice Principal slapped a Muslim student for praying on school premises.

The school vice principal’s actions caused widespread anger among students and staff, resulting in numerous students boycotting classes. The situation intensified, and the West Coast Governor had to intervene to calm the tensions.

The escalating tensions underscore the broader issue of religious intolerance in The Gambia, mainly affecting Muslim students, who constitute the majority in numerous schools. Recently, the nation has seen court cases concerning the prohibition of the hijab, an Islamic dress code for women, in schools.

A source at Anne Marie Basic Cycle School expressed deep disappointment and urged immediate action: 

“Let education take action. Permanent Secretary, regional director, and any other people let them take action. What should happen should happen, and all of us have peace. Let us have fair treatment. The way things are going, if something is not done, it won’t end well.” 

The source described the administration’s actions as “undone’ following Tuesday, May 21, 2024, incident which led to Muslim students continuing their boycott, refusing to attend lessons until the authorities addressed their concerns. The source elaborated on the school’s history of religious intolerance: 

“The religious tolerance is very, very poor in this school. Then, it was fine, but now they are trying to paralyze it. They are not respecting us at all. On top of that, they are insulting us, not even individuals but the religion itself, ISLAM. Please, when writing, put this across.” 

In response to the unrest, the school administration issued a statement seen by The Alkamba Times. 

“The problem is tentatively solved. From now on, the school will start at 08:00 am and close at 13:45. This will allow both students and teachers to go home and do their prayers and rest.” 

The administration further added: “We are also concerned about the education of the students. We encourage you to remain calm and pray that God’s will may be done. This will give us time to look into this issue with care and love.” 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here