A picture of Gambian rapper One Pac affixed to the cross appeared online to promote an upcoming concert dubbed “The Return of Gambia’s Heavyweight.” Instead of adulation as he sought, the artist was meet with condemnation in the majority Muslim nation.
“I am Muslim and a proud Muslim, but my religion (Islam) does not teach me to mock other religions,” Port Of Harlem reader Saidou Anna Ibn Ahmad told this magazine via Facebook. In Islam, Jesus is called Essa and is considered a prophet. “In fact, Essa (Jesus) was one of the mightiest messengers of God,” continued Ahmad.
Islam prohibits images of the Prophet Muhammad and some of the Facebook comments on the rapper’s “Jesus-like” image referred to the teacher in France who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class and later decapitated. The immigrant suspect, Abdoullakh Aboutezidovitch A, was shot dead by police shortly after the incident.
France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe and Islam is the country's second largest religion. Gambia is 90 percent Muslim, with about 10 percent of its citizens being Christian. Unlike France, Gambians live relatively free of religious strife and bigotry.
Kebba Cessay, head of the non-partisan Operation No To Tribalism & Religious Intolerance, told the Standard newspaper, “Yes, we may be live in a pretty politically-divided country, but as Gambians, we need to make sure that whatever we think politically, we clearly and loudly condemn any ideology that espouses bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and violence. We want to continue living peacefully with our Christians brothers and sisters.”