First off, I have huge respect for Imam Baba Leigh as an outspoken and all out Islamic cleric and scholar and activist of our time bent on preaching the word of Allah Subahana wata’alla and His Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Allayhi Wasalam. Alot of us knew the imam of speaking truth to power even if it means to the detriment of his life and livelihood during the former regime of Jammeh.
In light of the aforementioned, I have never in my wildest dreams pegged Imam Baba Leigh of all for a gay rights advocate or whatnot especially in his capacity as a commissioner in the National Human Rights Commission. The fact that he serves the institution that has most recently and publicly recommended for The Gambia government to defend gay rights is so unlikely and weird and beyond comprehension as a Gambian of Muslim or Christian faith. I wonder what must have informed his decision to be in defence of gay rights – an unGambian issue so to speak? But time will tell.
The imam as we know should have been outspoken about the ills of gays and delve more into the history of those engaged in the act and what became of them. The history is there. He should have used his position as an imam to stamp out this gay rights recommendation or resign and continue to speak ill about it in his deliberations, sermons and conferences. That is what is expected of him as a religious leader.
It’s not like we have a gay community parading in the streets every now and then like in some other countries. No we don’t. Gambians are thinking of buttering their bread, paying school fees, rent, medical expenses and among other things not wasting time and resources in this issue that can attracts the wrath of God on our dear country.
And for the sake of clarity, I am appreciate the work of the NHRC on other areas but defending gay rights should be a no-go area for a baby institution that is yet to make its indelible mark. It will only make their work difficult for people will start boycotting and petitioning against what they represent in the first place.
By now it is quite clear that a lot of Gambians and well-wishers are disappointed with the recent recommendation by the NHRC knowing that our able imam is its midst. It’s heartbreaking. We hope they rescind their decision and dig deeper into other pressing issues. God bless The Gambia, our homeland.
Alhassan ‘Sanna’ Kanteh
Baba Leigh should resign as either imam or member of NHRC
I read with keen interest comments on your newspaper and elsewhere on the National Human Rights Commission’s recommendation that The Gambia Government upholds the rights of members of the LGBT in The Gambia.
LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (often used to encompass any sexual orientations or gender identities that do not correspond to heterosexual norms).
In Chapter 7 Part 1 of its annual report under the heading “RIGHTS OF LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUALS AND TRANSGENDER” the Commission made three specific recommendations:
1. That the Government of The Gambia “take legal and other measures to protect the human rights and equal treatment of LGBT persons”.
2. The Government of The Gambia “deepen efforts to combat acts of discrimination and violence against LGBT persons.
3. The Government of The Gambia “create a culture of tolerance for diversity and differences”.
This is clear as daylight. The commission is asking the government to respect the rights of all Gambians including the human rights of gays which include their sexual rights.
The problem is, homosexuality, sodomy or whatever you call it has been condemned by Allah or God and by extension Islam and Christianity. It is even rejected by the Constitution of The Gambia. Therefore, in The Gambia it is not regarded as a human right by God and by the state making it roundly illegal.
The right to sexuality and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is said to be based on the universality of human rights and the inalienable nature of rights belonging to every person by virtue of being human.
But the right to sexuality does not exist explicitly in international human rights law.
In The Gambia we do not accept LGBT and we cannot accept it under any circumstance otherwise we will go against the order of our Creator.
The inclusion of the recommendation by the Commission for Gambia Government to “take legal and other measures to protect the human rights and equal treatment of LGBT persons” has made the position of not just Imam Baba Leigh but all good Muslims and Christians on the commission untenable. Of course in the case of the imam, the situation is more acute. He has to make a choice: 1. Denounce the inclusion of the particular recommendation, and remain on the commission; resign from the commission and remain imam; or remain on the commission and resign as an imam.
May Allah make him take the right choice, the siratul mustaqim.
Cape Point, Bakau.