Hassoum Ceeeay, Director of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has disclosed that the International Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), has earmarked the enlistment of Sami Pachonki Mosque as a World Islamic Heritage site.
The NCAC Director made this disclosure in Sami Panchonki village where he said ISESCO has been following the Gambia for the past three years to identify the country’s Islamic heritage sites; that this prompted the identification of Sami Pachonki Mosque.
‘‘The reason why we are here today is to engage the people of Pachonki village on the need to enlist their village mosque as part of ISESCO’s Heritage sites. ISESCO has been following us for three years now to identify Islamic cultural sites in the country and without doubt, Sami Pachonki Mosque is one of the sites we have identified to be enlisted among the World Islamic Cultural sites,’’ Ceesay disclosed.
According to him, Sami Pachonki Mosque has fulfilled all the qualities and characteristics required as a site; that the mosque will derive series of benefits from ISESCO as a heritage site.
‘‘Once this mosque is registered, ISESCO can provide assistance in terms of repairs and maintenance by providing training for gatekeepers of the mosque as well as in protecting and preserving the site for posterity. ISESCO consists of more than one hundred countries with their headquarters in Rabat, Morocco and they are expected to host their next general assembly meeting in the Gambia,’’ NCAC’s Director disclosed.
A brief history on Pachonki Mosque reveals that it was built in 1840 and this year marks it’s 172nd anniversary since it’s construction. The mosque is said to be built out of mud and rhum palms with wooden frame windows and doors crafted by local wood workers.
“Foday Omar Ceesay is said to be the first Imam of this mosque and since his demise, thirteen other Imams have followed in his stead,” Ceesay explained.
Scores of villagers who spoke at the occasion, expressed joy over the decision of Government to enlist their village mosque into ISESCO’s World Islamic Heritage sites; that worshipping, farming and animal husbandry depicts the true colours of the people of Sami Pachonki.