The Federation of Gambia Muslim Students’ Organisation (Fegamso), the umbrella body of all school-based Islamic associations in Arabic and English schools in The Gambia has issued a statement denouncing the EU office in Banjul for its stated pro-gay stance.
The abridged Fegamso statement noted: “On 17 May, 2020, the EU in The Gambia posted on its Facebook page about protecting the rights of the LGBT in The Gambia under the hashtag #Breakthesilence. “One may not agree with someone’s personal choices and preferences, but gay and lesbian Gambians are, first and foremost,Gambians.” Four days later, in a televised interview on EyeAfrica online TV, the EU ambassador affirmed that the EU is committed to “breaking the silence” by ensuring that the LGBT community is treated like every other Gambian. This suggests the decriminalization of same-sex marriage in The Gambia which is considered an “indecent practice” that is “against the order of nature” under the Criminal Code of The Gambia.
“The Fegamso therefore, wants to remind the EU that we the people of The Gambia value our cultural and religious beliefs. We strongly believe that the EU has no moral authority to preach to us human rights and the rule of law… The Gambia is a sovereign nation with deeply embedded religious and moral values that we the people of the Gambia are not ready to compromise at any point in time. The EU ambassador to The Gambia has no right whatsoever to interfere in our internal affairs. Our membership in international organisations is to be based on partnership, mutual love, and respect for one another’s religious, cultural, and ethnic values. We have been convinced that polygyny (an integral part of our culture and religion) is not proper. Yet, the EU wants us to adopt a foreign, unnatural, and ungodly system that is completely anathema to our standards. We condemn these forms of interference with our faith and internal affairs at the highest level…
“The EU, as the name stipulates, is a union that strengthens and represents the interest of the Europeans. Their cultural activities and economic affairs are best preserved through a common platform. Over the years, the EU has not only stood for Europe but extended its activities to many soils of the world, including Africa, through mutual respect and interest. The Gambia is no exception to this. We have welcomed and accommodated many sons and daughters of Europe in the name of tourism. We have shown them our cultures and traditions… The Gambia has benefitted a lot from the EU. The European territories are now homes for many Gambians some of whom hold citizenship in those countries. The relationship is but a beautiful one.
“However, we are of the view that if adequate care is not taken, then bitterness shall consume the amicable relationship between the EU and The Gambia. This fear of a sour partnership is in connection to the campaign and pronouncement made by the EU Ambassador to the Gambia.
“To put up a disclaimer, The Gambia is known as the Smiling Coast of Africa simply because of how all-welcoming the Gambian is. Therefore, our strong rejection of homosexuality has no connection to hatred for humans but has everything to do with the preservation of mankind. Homosexuality is alien to The Gambia and the people of The Gambia. We must also put it straight that even Europe and the rest of the Western nations were alien to such an inhumane lifestyle… The Gambia has challenges in many areas. Let us come together as partners in development, not as partners in extinction. Homosexuality promotes the discontinuity of life.
“MrAmbassador, on your clarification with Eye Africa, you made mention of the supremacy of international laws above the domestic laws. We want to put it to you that such a statement is misguided. It is a blatant mistake and it has no basis within the legal system. Our constitution as Gambians is paramount to us first. International treaties cannot override the domestic constitution of The Gambia. We encourage you to come back and clarify that definite misnomer.”