By Omar Bah
A former Imam of State House Mosque, Alhagie Abdoulie Fatty, has broken his silence on the recent video of a Gambian man paying allegiance to ISIS and the Tallinding cemetery standoff.
Speaking toThe Standard, Imam Fatty said there is only two recognized religions in the Gambia, Islam and Christianity, and that if there is any other religion, it might have proclaimed itself.
“The Tallinding cemetery incident last week is not the first of its kind, and I believe is high time the Supreme Islamic Council wrote a letter to the government to tell them they don’t recognise the Ahmadis as Muslims,” he said.
He said being born in Tallinding alone doesn’t guarantee one the automatic rights to be buried in the Tallinding cemetery.
“I am saying this because the Christians never encounter such problems with the Muslims in Tallinding with regard to burial rites because they have their own cemetery,” he said.
He said to settle the matter the Ahmadis should look for their own cemetery as dictated by the prophet as regards people with different faith.
On the recent emergence of a Gambian in a video pledging allegiance to ISIS, Imam Fatty said The Gambia government through the Supreme Islmic Council should immediately facilitate an Islamic conference to discuss the issue so as to allay fears of the public and save other young Gambians from taking the same route.
“If that cannot happen they can organise a panel discussion on GRTS with Muslim leaders, where Gambians would be given the opportunity to ask questions on the issues related to terrorism and Islam,” he added.
Imam Fatty however said care must be taken not to associate Islam with violence.
“It is unfortunate that Islam has been associated with terrorism and violence due to the actions of a few extremists who have used the name of Islam to commit heinous crimes,” he said, saying that is why still now tragic events such as the attacks on the West and US are assumed to be justified by Islam in the minds of some people.
“To understand Islam’s stance on terrorism, one must refer to its original sources, the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, which condemns any form of injustice,” he told The Standard.
Fatty said in fact the Quran pays great attention to the value of human life, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim and makes it totaly forbidden to take an innocent life unjustly.
“The gravity of such a crime is equated, in the Quran, with the killing of all humanity. This idea of ISIS being an Islamic body has been fueled further by many media channels which defame Islam by portraying these bombers as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’, as though they were sanctioned by Islam, or had any legitimacy on behalf of Muslims,” he stressed.
Imam Fatty also took time to criticise ISIS and other Islamic extremists, saying “Even if they want to respond to Western suppression, they should not direct it to some innocent people who have nothing to do with the crimes committed by these western countries.”