Rape allegations levelled against former Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh have left Gambians torn between utter shock and cynicism.
An interview aired by the Chronicle in which Toufa Jallow alleged that Gambia’s former strongman had raped her opened up a pandora’s box of claims from similar cases and ignited an unprecedented debate over, until now, a taboo issue.
Ms. Jallow’s audacity to come out in public to tell her tale has apparently encouraged a host of similar victims to share their ordeals with the former tyrant.
While it’s important to show empathy and sympathy with the alleged victims, it’s equally prudent to be cautious of making blanket accusations against innocent individuals without proof. Slandering is a major sin in Islam.
Rape constitutes an abhorrent crime in all religions, including Islam.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The scholars unanimously agreed that the rapist is to be subjected to hard punishment if there is clear evidence against him that he deserves the punishment, or if he admits to that.
Otherwise, he is to be punished (i.e., if there is no proof that the punishment for zina may be carried out against him because he does not confess, and there are not four witnesses, then the judge may punish him and stipulate a punishment that will deter him and others like him).
There is no punishment for the woman if it is true that he forced her and overpowered her, which may be proven by her screaming and shouting for help.”
Basidia M Drammeh.