Fajara, The Gambia, 11 July 2017


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 likeresearch,
and socioeconomic issues such as ‘halal’ food.

Vice Chancellor El Marzuki called onMuslims 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 (Arabic) was founded by the government of Saudi
Arabia by royal decree in 1961 in the Islamic holy city of Madina.

Minister of Higher Education, Badara Joof expressed optimism that the partnership will open
opportunites 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.