Gambian Muslim cleric explains why he remains grateful to Reverend Jesse Jackson. Momodou Ceesay, the Chief Resident Imam of Detroit Islamic Center, says Reverend Jackson’s beliefs in the value of human life and dignity have pushed him to travel far and wide to rescue people in danger.
The Chicago-based Civil Rights Leader in September 2012 flew to the Gambia to secure the release of Gambian Americans from Mile 2 Prisons. Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, former Information Minister and Tamsir Jasseh, former Immigration Chief, were released after President Yahya Jammeh ordered the illegal execution of nine deathrow inmates at Mile 2. Janneh and Jasseh, who got expelled from their country of birth, have since been living in the United States.
Since his Gambia rescue mission, Imam Ceesay has been longing to have personal interaction with Reverend Jackson. Little did Ceesay know such an opportunity would present itself some months back in Detroit where the two leaders attended a program on refugee crisis.
“We shook hands and started a healthy conversation,” Imam Ceesay tells Kairo News. “We were both elated to see each other which was why we were eager to connect. Reverend Jackson was more than happy to meet a Gambian born Imam in Detroit. During our discussion, I thanked Reverend Jackson for protecting human dignity and life. On behalf of all Gambians, I thanked him for bailing out our Gambian brothers. Without his efforts, Dr. Janneh and Jasseh would still be languishing in jail. These men have re-united with their families,” Imam Ceesay says after a discussion with Reverend Jackson.
Imam Ceesay says his discussion with Reverend Jackson had taught him that the two leaders share a lot in common. “In essence, we belong to the same school. We both care about the importance of human rights, dignity and value of human life. I have high regards for Mr. Jackson who has proven to the world that a human being must be respected and protected, irrespective of their colour, religion or race, which falls in line with the Quranic teachings that Allah bestow importance on a human being. The likes of Jackson are badly needed in a world riddled with chaos, conflicts and wars. We definitely need Reverend Jesse Jackson.”