Gambia president: Gays a 'threat to human existence'

Gambian president Yahya Jammeh said homosexuality was becoming "an epidemic" that must be ended.
Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  Sept. 28, 2013 at 2:15 PM
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Yahya Jammeh, president of the West African nation of Gambia, told the United Nations Friday that of all the dangers facing the world today, gays are the biggest.

"Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence," Jammeh said. "It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior."

"We are ready to eat grass but we will not compromise on this," he said, referring to threats from the U.S. and U.K. to revoke funding for social programs over his country's policies. "Allowing homosexuality means allowing satanic rights. We will not allow gays here," he said.

But Jammeh may not be the most trustworthy epidemiology expert: After all, Jammeh is the same guy who said in 2007 he could cure AIDS -- with a body rub of boiled herbs and bananas. These kinds of false prescriptions are considered especially dangerous in Africa, where the HIV/AIDS rates are the worst in the world: More than two-thirds of all people living with HIV worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa.

And in 2008, Jammeh ordered gay people to leave the country or risk being beheaded. He later retracted the comment, saying he only wanted to banish gays.

"I his list of the world's greatest threats, the president left one out -- intolerance," said Andre Banks, executive director of global gay rights group All Out.

Gambia has outlawed homosexual behavior, where it carries a jail sentence of 14 years.

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