President Adama Barrow yesterday received a visit in from the Vice Chancellor of Saudi Arabia’s Madina University, Dr. Hatim Bun Hassan El Marzuki.
Dr. Hatim Bun Hassan thanked President Adama Barrow for the Gambia hosting the first forum of Gambian graduates of Medina University, which is taking place in Banjul this week.Dr El Marzuki said the purpose of his visit was to express thanks and appreciation and to promote the true principles of Islam, promote peace and love to the world.
The forum is being held in The Gambia to strengthen the relationship between the University of The Gambia and the University of Madina in the areas of science and engineering and cyber security. The Vice Chancellor said the King of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi government supported Madina University students. He said he was encouraged that the university’s graduates returned to set up their own institution of higher learning in their country of origin. Vice Chancellor El Marzuki said that whilst most of those who graduate study Sharia and Dawa, they were now expressing increasing interest in other areas like research, and socioeconomic issues such as ‘halal’ food.
Vice Chancellor El Marzuki called on Muslims to do away with all kinds of extremism and to focus on promoting the true meaning of Islam.
President Barrow welcomed the delegation and thanked the members for coming to The Gambia to attend the forum. He said it reassured him of the goodwill towards The Gambia. Speaking of the importance of the university, he stressed that no country could grow without education.
President Barrow emphasised the importance of democracy and cited the Arab Islamic American Summit, in which different Muslim countries participated to address extremism and terrorism. He said The Gambia valued its democracy and explained that this was the reason why Gambians voted for change through the ballot box last December. He said the new Gambia would respect all protocols as a democratic nation.
The President of the Supreme Isalamic Council, Alhajie Lamin Touray, thanked the University of Madina for conducting its selection interviews in The Gambia, as this freed them from the logistical challenges they would face if they had to travel to Senegal for the interviews. He seized the opportunity to appeal for support for the Islamic University in The Gambia.
The Islamic University of al-Madina al-Munawarah Arabia was founded by the government of Saudi Arabia by Royal Decree in 1961 in the Islamic holy city of Medina.
Minister of Higher Education, Badara Joof expressed optimism that the partnership will open opportunities for science and engineering, information and communication technology, and mechanical engineering. The Saudi side expressed its interest in Islamic banking and insurance. Minister Joof shared the Gambian government’s interest in promoting peace. He said that without peace, there could be no development. Mr Joof urged the rejection of all kinds of extremism. He cited the promotion of peace by the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and other partners. He added that Saudi Arabia was the first country to promote globalisation as symbolised in Arafat, where people from different cultures, social and economic class come together in unity.