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Gambian President: U.S. Leads 'Evil Empire of Homosexuals'

Gambian President: U.S. Leads 'Evil Empire of Homosexuals'

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Gambian president Yahya Jammeh's latest antigay rant channels Ronald Reagan, claiming LGBT people and supportive Western nations like the U.S. are the 'evil empire.'

The president of the west African nation of Gambia lashed out against foreign governments that have called on him to stop jailing LGBT Gambians, according to Gambia Affairs, which the Washington Blade reports is an independent news outlet.

"All the religious books condemn homosexuality, and there is a so-called power of democracy that says that homosexuality is a right," President Yahya Jemmeh said in a speech earlier this month to hundreds of soldiers. "All empires before collapsed not at the time they were weakest, but at the peak of their might and when they equated themselves with the Almighty Allah. So this evil empire of homosexuals will also go down the dirty drain and garbage of hell."

Although Jammeh did not directly mention the U.S. when denouncing the so-called evil empire of homosexuals, there's little doubt that his ire is aimed at the Obama administration.

"The United States strongly opposes any legislation that criminalizes consensual relations between adults," said the U.S. State Department in response to November's news that Jammeh had secretly enacted a new law that calls for lifelong prison sentences for those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" and had already begun rounding LGBT people up.

"We urge the Government of The Gambia not to arrest or detain individuals solely on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens to which they are entitled under The Gambia's international human rights commitments," the State Department continued. "We call on the Government of The Gambia to reverse the deteriorating respect for democracy and human rights."

Human rights groups are calling on the U.S. and other nations that provide financial aid to the impoverished west African nation to impose sanctions on Gambia until it repeals the law and starts respecting the human rights of its gender and sexual minorities.

It is likely that Jammeh is keenly aware of a similar scenario that played out in Uganda last year. Sanctions were seen as effective in pressuring Uganda to overturn its now-defunct Anti-Homosexuality Act. Notably, language from the antigay law now in force in Gambia is nearly identical to that Ugandan law.

Meanwhile Jammeh, who seized power in a military coup in 1994, recently survived a coup attempt. In his recent speech, which was published by Gambia Affairs in its entirety with little context and no analysis, Jammeh blames a trio of culprits for Gambia's problems, conflating gays, the "evil empire," and Western leaders such as Barack Obama.

The speech frequently invoked scripture and resonated upon a theme that Western nations and ideologies that comprise the "evil empire" will never change. It's just the latest in a long line of public remarks from Jammeh berating LGBT people and any nations that offer them a modicum of protection.

Excerpts From Jammeh's Latest Antigay Tirade:

"Let me make it very clear, that if they think that they can be homosexuals and want to impose homosexuality on the globe, they are doomed. They say I am intolerant, now they created a new minority just the same as they created chairperson ... and that homosexuals are a minority that is being oppressed in this country."

"The Bible that came first condemns homosexuality and the Bible is the book of the Almighty Allah and the Quran. These are the words of the Almighty Allah telling human beings how to live and worship him, so that he will bless us and protect us."

"What Allah said is haram [prohibited], we are not going to accept it. We are not going to sacrifice the love of Allah at the altar of foreign aid. We are not a beggar nation. We will rather eat mud. We will worship the Almighty Allah and eat mud if that is going to be; because that is going to be the will of Allah than eat hamburger and chocolates and whatever and become homosexuals and offend the Almighty Allah."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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