The Chronicle Gambia

‘We are not attacking Islam or Members of SIC’ -Essa Faal Clarifies

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s “TRRC” lead counsel, Essa Faal, has clarified that the commission is not out to attack Islam or members of the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC), but only out to expose the right violations committed by former President Yahya Jammeh and his enablers.

Faal has yet again come under public criticism over his ‘rough’ questioning style, this time in the wake of Imam Abdoulie Fatty’s testimony on Monday. Many believed that Faal was unnecessarily emotional and had a preconceived mind against the Islamic scholar.

Essa Faal at the TRRC

Fatty was accused by his fellow imams such as Ba Kawsu Fofana and Baba Leigh for orchestrating their arrests which led to their maltreatment at the hands of the torture squad of ex-leader, Yahya Jammeh. He was also accused of calling for the banning of the Ahmadiyaa sect in the country.

He admitted to preaching the ban of the Ahmadiyaa. However, he denied ordering the arrests of the two scholars.

On Wednesday, the TRRC hosts the president of the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC), Imam Momodou Lamin Touray. Faal used the proceedings to clarify his stance.

“You see this whole thing is not that we (commission) are attacking Islam or attacking members of the Supreme Islamic Council. We want to expose the rights violations committed by Yahya Jammeh and those who enabled him to commit these rights violations,” says the lead counsel.

President of the Supreme Islamic Council, imam Momodou Lamin Touray appearing before the TRRC

He said the idea of welcoming members of the SIC some of whom are adversely mentioned, is “for members of the Supreme Islamic Council to answer questions, you will help the commission to understand what rights have been violated, understand Sharia and who violated those rights. This is what will help the commission in gathering the facts,” he said.

In his testimony, Imam Touray argued that the SIC did not ban Imam Fofana from propagating through the radio, instead they were executing orders from the presidency. He said any order that is passed by the government, the SIC will implement it except that such orders are in contrary to teaching of Islam and not in the interest of the public.

“Banning Imam Fofona was good. Banning him was for his safety and the stability of the country because the way Ba Kawsu was preaching will lead to conflict,” he said.

When squeezed on the legality of such ban. Touray insisted that it was on his interest and he should have been banned. “Laws should help people.”

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