By Omar Bah
A senior member of The Gambia civil society coalition in United States, Lamin Chamang Komma, has urged President Adama Barrow to proclaim his government’s position on homosexuality.
Speaking to The Standard from his US base, Komma said: “It is prudent that the Gambian leader addresses the country on his government’s position regarding homosexual rights. I believe he must not relinquish his responsibility in these crucial times of our country. His statement will apparently kill the whole debate surrounding the issue once and for all.”
Last year, the Gambia government categorically stated in its submission to the 34thsession of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group that it has no plans to decriminalise same-sex marriage.
But in recent weeks, the debate over the issue of homosexuality and the rights of LGBT persons surged, attracting all sorts of condemnation from Gambians following attempts by the EU representative to promote gay rights in The Gambia.
Imam Baba Leigh
Komma, who claimed to be Imam Baba Leigh’s brother in-law urged the Kanifing Estate imam to resign from the NHRC.
“It has really saddened me to see Imam Leigh still leading prayers at Kanifing Estate Mosque. He cannot be part of any organisation that supports the protection of gay rights and at the same time remain an imam,” he said.
He urged The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council to ban Imam Leigh from serving as imam in the country until he resigns from the National Human Rights Commission.
He said the government should censure the European Union Ambassador and tell him to stay away from meddling in Gambia’s internal matters.
“We expect the EU ambassador to respect our religion and cultural beliefs. Constitutions are written based on the countries’ cultures and norms. Therefore, this inhumane behaviour is not part of our culture and we say no to it,” Komma said.
Also commenting on Imam Leigh’s defiance to resign, a senior Gambian scholar told The Standard on the basis of anonymity that Imam Leigh’s refusal to resign from the NHRC could set a very bad precedence.
He said Imam Leigh’s justifications not to resign from the commission are alien to Islamic best practice.
“It is forbidden for a Muslim to participate or support anything that is not accepted by Islam, talk less of an imam. I respect Imam Leigh especially for his stance for the truth but this time around he is wrong and I think he knows that very well. I urge him to, for God’s sake, resign and save his image,” he said.