By Amadou Jadama
Rawdatul Majaalis has criticised the Gambian police for what it described as the heavy-handed manner in which one of its members accused of insulting former State House imam Abdoulie Fatty has been treated.
Rawdatul Majaalis is a rival group to the country’s apex Islamic body, Supreme Islamic Council.
Alhaji Baba Abubakar Drammeh, president of Rawdatul Majaalis speaking in a press conference at their secretariat yesterday, called on the government to avoid what he called selective justice and to be even-handed.
“Imam Fatty was the one who reported Amadou Sillah to Bakoteh Police Station that Sillah was insulting him. Bakoteh referred the matter to Mansakonko police who loaded a full truck of PIU officers to go and arrest a single person, an innocent person and unarmed.
“So when they arrived, the people in Jarra Sutukung were in panic, and when the villagers asked them about their mission, and they responded that they came to arrest Amadou Sillah, because he insulted Imam Fatty. Then they arrested him and took him to Mansakonko Police Station. So when we came to learn about the incident, the Rawdatul Majaalis decided to send a delegation to Mansakonko to investigate the matter. By the time they arrived there, Amadou was released, and from there they proceeded to Sutukung to talk to the elders and to know which actions they should take about the matter.
“So when they came back, we learnt that the matter has moved to Kairaba Police Station, and they asked Amadou to go and report there, and the police there questioned him about the statement he gave at Mansakonko. He told the police that the insult emanated from Imam Fatty himself who was the first to insult our elders in Islam, and he was left with no option but to retaliate.”
Drammeh said the Kairaba police transferred the matter to Police headquarters in Banjul, and asked Amadou to report there with Imam Fatty to settle the matter and to apologise to Imam Fatty.
According to him, Sillah did not want to do that but due to the pressure from his parents, he accepted to do so.
“When they decided for Amadou to go and apologise to Imam Fatty, we at the Rawdatul Majaalis decided to disassociate ourselves from the matter. We will never be in any attendance at a meeting where an apology will come from our member to Imam Fatty who has been insulting Gambians for a decade and nothing has happened to him. So we are not prepared to attend that kind of ceremony, because in our view there has been a selective justice.
“The government of President Adama Barrow has flouted their own mandate in the mediation between Rawdatul Majaalis and SIC. They could have addressed the matter at the beginning when a young boy Alieu Fatty insulted Sheikh Sheriff Muhammad Sanusi Ba Nano Hydara, the president of the new Supreme Islamic Council, very bitterly and openly.
“Instead of the police going to arrest the boy, it is our people who went to the police to report the matter and that was the time they arrested the boy, and they asked him whether he said what he was accused of and he said yes, and he did not regret it. And the man went scot-free from the police station…
“We believe that people are equal before the law. So we want to make it abundantly clear to the whole world that what happened between Amadou Sillah and Imam Fatty is not fair. And we also want to reiterate that Rawdatul Majaalis is not a violent organisation. It was created to propagate Islam and for the maintenance of peace and unity in the country,” he concluded.