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Opinions of Friday, 31 October 2014

Columnist: Shaban, Abdul Rahman Alfa

Married Yet Homosexual: Sulley's Debacle

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I am Muslim. A proud one at that. I have been so badly bruised over the past week by the news of how a fellow Muslim acted in a manner least expected of any one of us.

Wal Laahi! (I swear by God) that; I may not be in the shoes of the embattled man and his family (his prime concern after confessing to the act) but as a Muslim, I feel devastated by the turn of events. May Allah grant his family istiqaamah (strength) in these trying times.

I shall attempt to discuss this issue (thorny as it has become especially in our peculiar setting,) within the following contexts; social media, child upbringing, society and the law. A deliberate attempt here is to leave religion out.

A two part news report on Joy FM detailed how a young boy of 16 years alleged that he'd been sodomized five times by a medical doctor. He is suffering the effects of that unnatural carnal interaction and to compound matters has contracted HIV/AIDS

The journalist goes to Takoradi where the doctor is practicing; noses around speaking to acquaintances and all, then confronts the doctor who admits to the act with the excuse that he has the homosexual urge, thus gravitates sexually towards persons of the same sex.

The HIV/AIDS bit is now the boy's word against the doctors'. The former claims to have had protected sex once with a lady at age 14, and the doctor says he doesn't have the virus. A medical test should sort this out.

Social Media
As someone who looks to marry and have kids in the future, the prospect of child upbringing is scary and looks herculean. God bless all responsible parents who take pains to steer their kids in the right direction.

Today's kids have become social media addicts, hands on the keyboard and keypads all day, faces lit by mobile phone screens at night even in the face of 'dumsor' (power outage), giggling to themselves and lol (laughing out loud.)

The meeting between these two actors (Dr. Al-Gabass and the boy) was made possible through social media. A place akin to the streets; where you meet all kinds of people with different values and orientations interacting at different levels.

Today, the young man joins a list of many others the world over who are victims of social media interaction gone VERY (emphasis mine) horribly wrong.

Child Upbringing
When parents put in their best efforts at steering their ship or herding their sheep to a good destination, socialization as an external variable also helps but most times, militates against these efforts. Ship/sheep synonymous in this context to kids/children.

Back to the story, and I seek by my next point never in the least to indulge in victim blaming here. Here is a young man who at age 14 had protected sex with a girl and by 16 had been subjected VERY UNFORTUNATELY to anal sex.

So till after his fifth anal sex encounter and the complications thereof, the boy's parents did not know he had had 'normal sex' and even for the anal sex, the need for surgery is what caused his mom to know the full story. Because she was the only person she he could trust, he said.

To paraphrase his words, dad is a talkative he could not trust with such sensitive news. As for his sisters, if they got to know what was happening; he could not even stay in the house with them.

Question: what kind of kids are we raising today; what are they doing that we do not know; and with what information can they trust us? Five times and both parents were in kept in the dark over such an incident? Lord have mercy.

The larger section of our society frowns on same sex relationships. This is largely against the backdrop that it is unacceptable, abhorrent and totally DETESTED (caps mine) by religion and culture.

This same religion and culture subtly guides us relative to how we must behave from childhood through to our youth and old age. A basic social principle that is lauded and encouraged by society is MARRIAGE.

Marriage here is a union between persons of the opposite sex. The doctor knew the importance of this and was duly married and father to two children. So do I call the tendency to gravitate towards a young boy as abnormal and 'evil.'

That same society and the signal it sent around would not allow the doctor to at any point openly declare his status till after it was thrust into public domain on his own admission upon query by the journalist.

The man was respected by his society, revered by members of his faith and recognized as a hardworking professional by his colleagues at work, yet that same society is shocked at his action and he has to bear the cross sadly.

The very Muslim community that rose up to damn the activities of same-sex relationships is today having to live with the fact that of all members of their society, a doctor was of that orientation and allowed that lustful pleasure to ruin him.

The Law
The law of his religion was certainly going to be sterner if applicable. That said, law is law. Its course must not under any circumstances be seen to be tampered with or diverted.

The act of convincing a minor and having unnatural carnal knowledge of him, by the boy's account; employing threat and coercion to cow him to accede to further request for the act come together on one part of the legal scale.

Doctor's bold admission on tape to the act is the other very heavy evidence of the other side of the scale, forget whatever reasons he gave; that the boy was sexually active and that he also had the urge.

Consolation (for want of a better word) is that; no one has come to level similar allegations against the man for same offence. Already legal processes have began and Ali-Gabass is charged with defilement and having unnatural carnal knowledge.

The earlier this case is dealt with and closure brought to this very sad episode in the life of the Ali-Gabass's; the better.

I reiterate my prayer for his family (nuclear and extended), friends, associates and acquaintances from far and near. There are some things that we wish NEVER happened but reality is; they do happen. May Allah grant us all the strength to carry on.

I would always reserve a prayer for the doctor and others with similar urges, and as I march on in life, I would learn to remain tolerant to all people. And learn to HATE the act (homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality etc.) and not the actors.

Hoping that I can help the actor directly or indirectly with a way out. May Allah forgive our iniquities and guide us unto the right path. Ameen.

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban


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