By Alagie Manneh
The deputy imam of the central mosque of Bakau has stressed that no amount of intimidation can force Ahmadis into submission and that those persecuting them lack the moral authority to do so.
Saikou Sonko said the revivalist imams, among them former State House imam Abdoulie Fatty, have supported the Jammeh dictatorship and even turned a blind eye to “its atrocities”.
“Those [imams] who are shouting publicly today and condemning the Ahmadis, tell them to be quiet,” he told The Standard yesterday.
“For they were among those who were supporting the atrocities of the former government. They are not qualified to face the Ahmadis and criticise them.”
According to him, by virtue of their stance regarding Jammeh, the imams have always been “looked down upon” by the Ahmadis, who will not respond to taunting.
He said the religious leaders must accept that “we will never be one”, albeit he himself rejecting the ideology of the Ahmadis.
“Because Allah said that those who disagree regarding the deen, and bring differences amongst themselves regarding it, Allah said indeed those are the fasiqun [someone who violates Islamic law], and on the day of reckoning, He shall punish them. So, anyone who distances himself from true Islam and what has been revealed should know that he falls in that category,” the deputy imam related.
Regardless, he said: “What the Quran said to us is to preach with manners, and a degree of respect. Don’t look at someone and say to him you are an Ahmadi, or a kafirr [unbeliever], or that we will do this and that to you. If that happens anywhere, you will have a conflict. Somethings are better treated with rationality.”
He explained that the Ahmadis’ ideology of Islam propagated and spread all over the globe thanks largely to its humanitarian activities and wealth.
He argued that had wealthy Muslim states like Saudi Arabia for example invested fairly towards the welfare of other Muslims around the world, the growth of Ahmadiyya Jama’at would have been largely minimal.
“Even a dog, the person that treats him well is the person that it goes to,” the deputy imam said. “At the time of their coming [to The Gambia] during independence, there weren’t many of them, but today, they are large in numbers because of the people they were able to convince to join them, and the opportunities and avenues they have provided and continue to provide. The Christians had the same strategy and that is why today they all have roots here. Before, there was no Christianity here. So, I will tell those of our people who are persecuting the Ahmadis, that it is not worth it.”
Deputy imam Sonko, who is well known in Bakau for his hard-hitting views on issues, said the Gambian predicament remains generally sad due to politics.
“There is politics involved in a lot of things. The leaders of the nation have decided to involve politics in everything and that is why we are in this situation. During election time, they turned tribes against each other. This government did that. They turned faiths against each other, and made people look down on each other. Yes, this government did that. As a result, today, everywhere tribes are fighting, and religious leaders are at it. The government wouldn’t do anything about these issues because they have a political interest in it,” he alleged.