By Alagie Manneh
A lecturer and Imam of the Tallinding Islamic Institute, Imam Chebbo Cham, has warned that there will consequences for any attempt to arrest Islamic leaders who converged last Friday for a so-called ‘anti-Ahmaddiya’ summit.
The revivalist imams, including leading imam Abdoulie Fatty, have come under heavy criticism from some quarters after they labelled Ahmadis as non-Muslims and accused them of distorting the true Islamic faith, in the wake of Friday’s viral meeting.
Human rights activist, Madi Jobarteh on Sunday condemned the “bigotry conference” and called on the Inspector General of the Police to arrest and charge the imams with incitement to violence and insulting the religious feelings of others.
But in an interview, Imam Chebbo Cham said any attempt to have the religious leaders arrested for “simply stating the truth” will be “catastrophic”.
“We have rights to educate our children, and our wives and brothers to be wary of this [Ahmaddiya] group posing as Muslims, but in real sense, they are unbelievers,” Imam Cham said.
He said it is the activist Madi Jobarteh who should face arrest.
“The whole country knows who should be arrested. He is the one who has conflicted this nation until the honourable leader of this nation mentioned him by name. Tell me, then, who should be arrested? He has been recognised for his troubles in the country, and what Barrow said about him before leaders of the Islamic faith is the truth. If the IGP must arrest anyone, it is him. [But] even if they arrest us, which will be a catastrophe, we will not stop talking.”
The outspoken imam added: “We are not saying that we will not tolerate Ahmadis, or other religions, what we are saying is that we have every right to tell Gambians to be wary of certain groups, for what they are engaged in is not true Islam.”
He said the Ahmadis should abrogate their concept of Islam and join the widely accepted form.
“Let them leave the religion that they practice and come join us instead in the deen that is accepted by all of us. Let them accept that they are not on the side of the truth,” he added.