By Omar Bah
Gambians, prominent among them the former minister of Presidential Affairs, have called on Imam Baba Leigh to immediately resign from the National Human Rights Commission.
The NHRC caused controversy in its 2019 annual report after recommending to the government to protect the rights of gays, a suggestion that many Gambians expressed the belief starkly contradicts Imam Leigh’s religious beliefs.
Baba Leigh is the imam of Kanifing Estate Mosque.
Scores of people took to the social media to condemn the NHRC and called on Imam Leigh, a commissioner on the NHRC to honourably step down.
Speaking to The Standard on the issue, Momodou Sabally said: “I have a lot of respect for Imam Baba Leigh. If I were him, I would resign because my position as an imam serving a commission that actually believes in gay rights and promotes the rights of gays is untenable.
Given the fact that he heads Muslims of a very important community and given his lineage – his family that is known as devout Muslims – he should resign otherwise he will be giving cover and apparently legitimacy to a despicable cause that is seen as abominable by Muslims, Christians and even the non-believers”.
“Imam Baba Leigh, please resign from The Gambia Human Rights Commission. Being gay is anti-Islam. I consider you a frontier-scholar. I can’t imagine you driving a call such as this,” one Yusupha JS Sanneh, wrote on his Facebook page.
Another critic, one Alhassan Kanteh wrote: “So disappointed with Imam Baba Leigh of all [people]. After all it is not like we have LGBT community out in the streets protesting or demanding their God forsaken right. We have more important things to deal with”.
Contacted, Imam Leigh declined to comment on the matter, saying: “I am a commissioner. We have a spokesperson who is the chairman. Anything which needs commenting please contact him. I want you to understand that [just as] you will never violate the rules and regulations of The Standard newspaper, [also] allow me to mingle [sic] myself with the rules and regulations of the commission”.