The president of The Gambia on Thursday threatened the lives of citizens considering fleeing in the face of intolerance towards gays and lesbians, the latest in a string of hate speech towards the LGBT community that rivals any other on the African continent.
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh was speaking in the town of Basse in the west African country when he made his comments, related to the idea that gays and lesbians are seeking more tolerant pastures. “Some people go to the west and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia, in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe,” Jammeh said, according to the APA. “If I catch them I will kill them.”
In that same speech, Jammeh also said that the British at least are skeptical of these claims and have begun conducting tests on travelers from the Gambia to confirm their sexual orientation. This likely refers to reports from last year that British authorities were asking for “proof” from those entering the country seeking asylum on the grounds of LGBT persecution. “In extreme cases claimants had handed over photographic and video evidence of ‘highly personal sexual activity’ in an effort to persuade officials, the Home Affairs Committee found,” according to the BBC at the time. The British government isstill facing the backlash from that revelation, but the targeting is not specific towards Gambians.
Jammeh’s latest comments aren’t the first h
Six months after starting a humanist charity in 2010, Dale McGowan unveiled a philanthropist’s version of a beta test. He already offered donors to his organization, the Foundation Beyond Belief, the opportunity to designate their gifts for groups that worked in fields like refugee aid and environmentalism. Then, in an contrarian brainstorm, he decided to try adding a category for progressive religious bodies.
He thought he had found the perfect test case with Quaker Peace and Social Witness, part of the British branch of the Society of Friends. Here was a nondogmatic denomination with a longstanding commitment to pacifism, racial equality and economic fairness. What, even for atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, was there not to like?
Well, Mr. McGowan soon enough found out. “No way am I going to give my money to groups that will use it to hit my kids over the head with a Bible,” wrote one member in an email as he cut off his financial support. A blogger on the site No Forbidden Q uestions put the objections somewhat more elegantly: “While I’m happy to hear when people move away from fundamentalism toward a more liberal understanding of religion, I think it would be best if people became (or stayed) atheist, and that’s the goal I want to support.”
A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, in a ruling which activists described as "abhorrent".
Born to a Muslim father, the woman was convicted under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, is married to a Christian and eight months pregnant, human rights activists say.
"We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged," Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father's Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.