Tuesday, June 6

Father Carl Gomez Urges Imam Fatty to Stay out of Christian Life –

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Father Joseph Carl Gomez, Parish Priest St Peter’s Church Lamin has urged Ya Imam Fatty, to stay out of the Christian life, “you can do nothing about it. Christianity is here to live forever and ever.”

He made the statement in response to former State House Imam Abdoulie Fatty, saying he has a special responsibility to Imam Fatty and he guess that Iman Fatty understands why Father Nicodemus will not stand here to speak. 

“Ya Imam Fatty, I send you warm greetings and I wish you well. You have long been exercising your freedom of speech but I think it is time now for you to get a response. And I think it will do you some good. The issue of veils is hot in the country and you have mentioned Muslim Senior Secondary School, Abba Bilingual, St. Peter’s, and St. Therese’s. To begin with, with Muslim Senior Secondary School.

” For Muslim Senior Secondary School, what you are fighting for, in Abba, St. Peter’s, and St. Therese, reflects that you’re not an honest man, you’re not a man of integrity. There is no sense of freedom and justice in you. 

“Christians in Muslim Senior Secondary Schools, put on the veil because that is the order of that school. Whoever goes there, has to abide by the rules of the school. So, on that note, I say your words in the audio that you have released have no basis, no justification, and they reveal just who you are. 

“For Abba Bilingual, there is no praying ground for any faith even though the proprietor is a Christian. It is not a case as if a particular faith is given an advantage over the other. If the school rules say not praying on grounds or no praying on campus, for all religions, and no wearing of veils, why do you have any problem with that? 

“For St. Peter’s, this is my jurisdiction as Parish Priest, Ya Imam Fatty. I tell you, Ya Imam Fatty, that there is a praying ground for Muslim brothers and sisters who wish to pray in St. Peter’s. So, I advise you to do your homework before you go on air. In St. Peter’s veils are not allowed. 

“Students and parents are in the picture well before admission. Why should it be an issue? Ya Imam Fatty, I guess you’re a shepherd by your Imamship which of course by happy coincidence in my Parish in this area in Farato, which is named ‘Good Shepherd, we’re honouring this day. Because any leader, you’re considered a shepherd. With due respect, I know you’re a shepherd and you’re shepherding the people of God in the Islamic dimension. I enjoin you, therefore, to be sincere, truthful, be honest. Do not be sentimental about this. Trod the path of truth and you’ll be a good shepherd and God will be happy with you.

“For St. Therese’s, you have no facts. I encourage you to keep quiet. Be reminded Ya Imam Fatty that being a minority does not make someone a second-class citizen. Get it clear that Christians are citizens like you if not more and you can do nothing about it. So, learn to co-exist and accept to co-exist. This will be the way of peace. Ya, Imam Fatty, you’re not Allah, you’re not God. Allow God or Allah to do his work. You’re just a mere mortal human being. You will die and you will get rotten like any other human being. Be humble, thread the path of truth, for it will set you free. You owe your congregation an apology for not adhering to the truth as you led them in prayer. You gave them false impressions. 

“You owe an apology to the schools you mentioned and castigated. You owe the Christian community an apology and indeed the entire country. I pray that God will usher you to repentance. Ya Imam Fatty, I have something to remind you.

“In about 2008 or 2009, or thereabout, you went on air belittling the Christian celebration of Good Friday. I don’t know whether you were reprimanded on that or not I cannot tell. I took it as a mistake, I decided to keep quiet. When our brother Morris Gomez was sick, and he died, you called me reminding me that Morris Gomez is a Muslim because you have gathered that I was visiting him in the hospital. And for all you know, your audio is circulating because of this veil issue. I have all the will to respond to you and that is why I started, so I will remind you again, concerning the last bit I have mentioned. If you don’t know about people’s faith, stay out of it. I don’t talk about Islam and the Holy Quran because I don’t know it. I don’t want to make mistakes; I would not lead my people falsely. But I will tell them to be good Christians, and respect everybody. 

“In fact, in the Bible, Jesus Christ did not tell us ‘love Christians’. For us, Jesus Christ said, ‘Love your neighbour’ and your neighbour can be anybody in this world. So, just to give you what we have in the Bible. What is in the Quran I don’t know and I will not talk about it. So, Ya Imam Fatty, stay out of the Christian life, you can do nothing about it. Christianity is here to live forever and ever. Ya, Imam Fatty Morris was a Christian, he left the faith and became a follower of Islam. I met up with him because we share the same office…he told me Father in Manjago “Ma bur buga”. I told him is that so? He said yes. I said okay. Am not to condemn him. I am not God, Ya Imam Fatty you’re not God, I remind you. So, unfortunately, Morris got sick and was admitted. I visited him regularly. He is still a child of God. And I did the needful. 

‘”Am sure Ya Imam got that message that Father was visiting him regularly. And heaven knows, all the time I visited him, I never asked him to change his faith. He was sick, there was something that was very important and that was his health. I visited him, I prayed for him, and I did whatever I could do for him. Just to be called by Imam Fatty “Stay away because this man is a Muslim”.

 “I was at the burial; I was there with my clerical shirt. Ya, Imam, you did not raise Morris from death to life. You’re just a mere mortal stay out of Christianity. I knew what I was doing, he told me outright that he has become a Muslim. Who am I to judge him? Don’t judge us God is the supreme judge. I have said and I will repeat. I beg you to be honest. Many Muslims are there, they are very honest and they will not listen to you. I am not speaking Ya Imam Fatty to you because you are a Muslim or not. Ask my brother priests, they know who Joe Carl is when it comes to truth and justice. I won’t spare anybody on that. Even my brother priests I take them on when the truth is not told.” 

“You can say it in my absence but in my presence, we will have to journey and come to the facts. And I encourage my brother priests to hold on to the truth, for it is the truth that will move us forward. If we do not speak the truth, we become failure shepherds. We become thieves and robbers that Jesus Christ is talking about because we do not speak the truth to the people that God has entrusted to us. So, I encourage you Ya Imam, be honest. You cannot change the dress codes of our schools.

All the schools have a dress code. My sister went to Nusrat and she veiled. What’s your problem with it? I did not cry foul. If you’re honest, you were going to tell Muslim Senior Secondary School, the school that you have mentioned, that you must allow the Christian students to also wear their uniforms without veils. But you are not taking that path. Where is the integrity? Where is justice? Let us be fair to one another. 

Ya, Imam Fatty, you’re older than me I am sure, but Gambia is older than you. You and I will die and leave The Gambia alone in peace. The Christians and Muslims will continue to co-exist. You cannot separate them. We will continue to share all the pleasantries that we need to share. The food, the joy, the hospitality, you cannot stop it. So be warned! Be warned! And I enjoin every person that is listening to this… I am very privileged today that I am covered. We are going on air; this is why I said Father Nicodemus cannot be here. I will be the one to talk. This is my jurisdiction, my school is mentioned, and my faith is touched. Ya, Imam Fatty get it clear; Christianity and Muslims will live; we are all citizens here. And you have even touched something. We have been keeping quiet for so long.

“Sometimes you have an issue, you take it to the police. The police kind of downplay it just because a Christian has brought the case. All institutions are called by this proclamation to wake up, to understand that there are some bad people in our system whether they call themselves shepherds or leaders. They are not correct; they are not normal. We need to censor them; we need to re-examine them. Let us not listen to them. Such people if we listen to them breed bad blood in our systems and spoil our beautiful Gambia.

 Can we boast of a ‘Smiling Coast’ today? I don’t think we can boast of it if we are honest. We should revisit our Psalms. Maybe Peter Gomez will hear this and all those who coined that name should think about it again. Because I know people used to say that in every rumour there is an iota of truth.  I say no, we have to change that language. It’s not behind every rumour there is an iota of truth, there may be an iota of truth. Because I can come and speak falsely against somebody, just because I want to destroy somebody. So that statement does not have any value any longer, we must add there ‘maybe’. There ‘maybe’ an iota of truth but not always ‘an iota of truth’. So let us understand this thing and become one family.

”I have said in Blessed Sacrament (name of Church) that if I stand before you as your priest and tell you to hate your neighbour just because he or she is not a Christian, leave my church, know that I have lied to you because I did not tell you the truth. And I said that at a funeral whereby generally funerals, we are all gathered Muslim and Christian, and African traditionalists. We must respect each other. We must love one another. And as religious leaders cutting across all religions, there is no way that we can neglect to preach love. There is no way that we can neglect to preach peace. There is no way that we can neglect to preach honesty and justly treat one another. This is what is going to make Gambia special. I have travelled, and I thank God for that. I have been telling Gambins when I returned that we have an asset but we do not know that. We don’t have gold, we don’t have diamond, and we don’t have gas or name it, whatever natural or mineral resources we’re talking about. But then we have that peace that everyone is craving for. Why should we just throw it to get it drowned in the ocean? We are all stakeholders in this and we religious leaders if we do not want to be thrown into hell fire, let us be honest and tell people the truth and lead them in the right direction.

“Ya Imam Fatty, I pray for your conversion. I pray that you’ll have a change of heart. I pray that you’ll be humble and apologise first to your congregation because you told them false stories. And then step-by-step, you approach the entire nation and apologise to us. In Senegal, one Imam did that and then the president Macky Sall spoke and condemned it. Other religious leaders from the same side of the Imam condemned it. A priest responded to him and the Imam was humble enough to apologise. We are Christians, we are taught to forgive. Even when hanging on the cross Jesus forgave those that crucified him. So, if you apologise, it will be a mark of humility for you and we’ll definitely owe it to you to forgive you. I here declare that you’re forgiven in Jesus’ Name.”