By the Beneficence and Mercy of Allah, Al Atharee Association established The First Islamic Public Reference Library of The Gambia in January 2008. On Ministers of State and the National Media, attending its inauguration, it was acclaimed as being “The first of its kind in The Gambia”.
Al Atharee Association, aims by its usage, to aid both teachers and students attending school, university, skill centres as well as others involved in development projects in The Gambia, to access authentic Islamic Knowledge and relevant general information, to enable an Islamic foundation to be retained, as the mainstay of life, of this 95% Muslim population; particularily as this tiny african state continues to emerge and take a definitive part in the international arena.
In his address to the 100 guests attending its inauguration, The Secretary of State for Land, Youth & Religious Affairs, speaking in Mandinka, highly commended and welcomed the establishment of such a noble facility in The Gambia. He encouraged people to frequent it and utilise its contents properly, for he cited, “the gaining of such knowledge, as the key to the eradication of ignorance and poverty and an integral part of the advancement of healthy altruistic interactions between citizens and the furtherance of peaceful global co-existence.”
The Minister of Higher Education, the Supreme Islamic Council, the Arab Islamic Education Secretariat of The Gambia, returning doctorates and graduates from the University of Medina al Munawarra, have also commended the Reference Library as indeed being a visionary gift to the Gambian people.
Many school teachers and students, described to us, how for generations, the country has suffered sparse access to authentic and useful teaching resources and they express their astonishment as to how this library, with such a fine collection of Authentic Islamic Knowledge; its breadth of General Knowledge and Literacy Teaching aids, has come about; enabling them now, to easily access and enjoy a wealth of knowledge right here, in The Gambia.
This Library is adjacent to our second Jumuah Masjid, Al Ghurabaa at Kartong and we have also constructed a 300 metre vehicular access road leading to it, from the main coastal road at the junction of the Allahein River, at Kartong, Kombo South.
Meanwhile our objective is to extend this project, so we will shortly be issuing a list of Arabic and English book titles and types of Children books required to be donated, so please keep a look out for this. We intend to create a Central Islamic Reference Library in Al Atharee Dawah Centre, plus a network of mini libraries for our MOON project.
Also keep in mind that a book might be placed on a shelf in one small place, in the african bush, but the wealth it contains, via its readers, may travel thousands of kilometres and years ahead into the future, even into eternity.
This piece is taken from the website of the Al Atharee Association of The Gambia for Islamic Education, Dawah and Propagation.