During his recent trip to Africa, President Obama was the focus of some no-nonsense instruction about homosexuality both from citizens as well as top African religious and government leaders. At a joint press conference June 27 with Senegal's president, Macky Sall (shown in photo), Obama declared: “My basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to the law, people should be treated equally, and that's a principle that I think applies universally.”
Responding to Obama's comments Senegal's President Sall quickly made it clear that he and his nation do not see eye-to-eye with America's chief executive. “We are not ready to decriminalize homosexuality,” Sall emphasized, with his people and even the nation's major newspapers expressing their overwhelming support.
In fact, many of Senegal's citizens thought their president should have been more emphatic. “He should have said, ‘This can never exist in Senegal; this can never happen here,’” Tidiane Gueye, a resident of Senegal's capital city of Dakar, told the New York Times. “Senegal is 95 percent Muslim,” Gueye added. “As a Muslim country, we will not permit laws that allow gays to marry.”
Another Senegalese, retired military officer Bouramon Ndour, applauded Sall, saying that “he did extremely well,” in standing up to Obama. Speaking of homosexuality, Ndour said that “nobody here can accept that ... we are absolutely staunch on it. Look, this is a Muslim country. Over our dead bodies!”
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Photo of U.S. President Obama with Senegalese President Macky Sall: AP Images