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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours

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With Aisha Jallow

Another pompous man is polishing his ego, not understanding that he is actually making a fool of himself. There seems to be something special about televangelists, no matter where in the world they live. They get so much attention, and no one seems to have the guts to question them. The ego grows larger and larger, they need to be careful because there might come a day when they finally burst. Humility is what makes us human, putting oneself on a shelf can make the fall very painful. I am referring to an article published in this newspaper on 15th June, where the Muslim televangelist Zakir Naik stated that Jammeh was removed because of him. What is the use of such a statement? Has anyone asked him about it? Were he and the boys sitting in the shade, sharing some attaya, chatting about this and that and suddenly this topic came up? Did any of his mates ask him: “Ey, Zakir buddy, what’s up, man? Tell me about your pal Jammeh. What happened? Why did he have to leave?”

Apparently they had been living in the land of dreams for 22 years, so no one knew or perhaps even cared as they hadn’t been the victims for all the atrocities made by Jammeh – or with his blessing.

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Zakir Naik was speaking about Jammeh as he had been a naughty boy, but with a good heart. “He had his faults…I knew him well…” stated Dr Naik. Oh yeah, Jammeh had his ”faults” and every victim that has been telling his or her story to the TRRC can agree to that. It is not like Jammeh had been pulling off the wings of flies, or kicking a cat in the butt – that is what naughty boys do. It doesn’t matter if you have your arms full of Holy Qur’ans if you order your people to kill innocent citizens – it’s still criminal. We keep on saying insh’Allah whenever we do or wish to do something, but it is not God’s will to rape women, accusing people of being witches or pulling a plastic bag over someone’s head and see that person suffocate to death. Dressing in a white robe, holding the Holy Qur’an in one hand and prayer beads in the other doesn’t make you a good Muslim. God lives in our souls, not in our exterior.

Yahya Jammeh was not a naughty boy, he was acting like a psychopath and that is a mental illness. Psychopaths can appear very charming, but they are manipulative and as soon as you annoy them they will show you the true side of their personality. Psychopaths are unable to show empathy, they might have learnt some social codes so they are able to hide their disability, but as soon as they are tested somehow it will show. Psychopaths are only interested in themselves and in their own needs. They are not able to show love and compassion, they have no understanding for others and their troubles. A psychopath thrives by causing others despair, finding out new ways of paining someone is like a game for these people. Jammeh was not a naughty boy that could be changed by standing in the corner for a while, or writing down ”I’m sorry for what I did” a thousand times in Arabic.

Yahya Jammeh is an evil person who was allowed to commit his crimes for too long. Jammeh was the instigator, but he had a lot of people around him who were gaining by his power. It must have been a walk on a “thin ice”, as we say here in Sweden, but as long as you were not put on the “naughty list” you could laugh all the way to the bank.
What has thin ice got to do with anything? Up in the north we know that it is dangerous to walk on the ice, when a lake is frozen. If it’s too thin, we will fall through and might drown. It must have been the same to be near Jammeh, one step in the wrong direction and you lose your life.

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This is a quotation of one of Zakir Naik’s statements:
“By Allah’s grace, I have met several heads of state, several presidents and prime ministers of various countries, but Jammeh is one of the few heads of state who was very close to me. Among the heads of state, the person who has followed my Islamic advice to maximum is Yahya Jammeh. May Allah bless him; may He grant him jannah. Because he was too close to me, many in the Western world were against him and I feel because he followed my advice, he was forced to leave his position.”

In these times, when we have learned more and more about Jammeh’s atrocities I don’t find it appropriate to brag about the close relationship between Yahya Jammeh and Zakir Naik. If I would have had that kind of relation with Jammeh once, I would have hid myself in shame and never spoken about it again. It is clear that Dr Naik is only seeking for attention and even more clear that he doesn’t understand that he is embarrassing himself. Dr Naik is saying that many in the Western world were against Jammeh because he was so close to Zakir Naik. Dr Zakir Naik, who??? I have been following the news about The Gambia for four years, and I read a lot of other news too about the relationship between Africa and Western countries and not even once has the name Zakir Naik turned up! What has made Dr Naik believe that he is that important as he implies?Nothing else but his own ego.

And why this obsession about people’s sexuality? “Forbidden fruit always tastes the best” goes the saying, and those with the dirtiest minds are always those who dig their noses the deepest in to the dirt. Why bother about who is having sex with who, as long as little girls are raped and abused in our society? Are those actions more okay because they are executed by men against the opposite sex? Before anyone begins to shout about haram, make sure that your own mind is always pure. There is always another side of the narrative, and you might not be able to see it, especially if you are mentally blind. Imagine living in a society where people are always too busy with interfering in other’s business that they are unable to be the true them.

Imagine feeling that you have emotions for someone you are not allowed to. You try to suppress the inner you for the rest of your life, but you will never be happy. Homosexuality is not a Western phenomenom that we are trying to persuade pious Muslims to embrace. Homosexuality is found in every society in the world, and we even find it in nature. Before we shout out in hate against gay people, we must consider how it is to live in a society where you risk to be shunned and even killed by your own people. Where is the love for our fellow human beings? Where is the love for God’s creation? It is not easy to live as a gay person in the Western world either, but there is a larger freedom for individuality here.
Dr Naik had a lot to say, but nothing of it made sense or was based on facts. Perhaps he would be helped by doing as I do before I begin to write any of my articles – do a lot of research. Knowledge opens one’s mind and gives a better understanding for our fellow human beings and their actions. Dr Naik should try that instead of trying to convince people that he is right, when it is obvious that he doesn’t have a clue what he is speaking about.

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