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President attacks religious leader and threatens media

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 22 May 2009, Baba Leigh, Imam of Kanifing and outspoken critic of President Yahya Jammeh's administration, was warned by President Jammeh to stop criticizing the administration or risk going to prison.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that President Jammeh, who was addressing a rally in Kanifing, castigated Leigh and accused him of misleading his followers and using his position as a religious leader to engage in money-making ventures.

"As the Minister for Religious Affairs, I won't accept scholars misleading people", President Jammeh told his party supporters.

He warned that should Imam Leigh react to these allegations either in his sermons or through the media, he would ensure that he goes to prison.

The Gambian president has banned the electronic media from broadcasting any material from the imam, warning of dire consequences should they disregard his directive.

MFWA sources said Imam Leigh is very popular in Gambia for being among the few outspoken leaders critical of societal injustices and excesses committed by those in authority.

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