Jailed as a Heretic

Abderrahmane Gaye is the second son of nine children from a strong Moslem family. The name Abderrahmane (pronounced in its short form as Abdou) means “the servant of the Merciful.”
Abdou joined the Unification church in 1980 in Mauritania his home country, witnessed to by his class mate, Abdoulaye Wone, now a seminary alumnus (Class of ’89), when they were still in high school. His parents were not only negative but also scared because their beloved son was treading on dangerous grounds to abandon Islamic faith.
Mauritania is a small African Moslem state in which the tough sharia law is highly effective. And according to sharia law, anyone found abandoning the original (Moslem) faith for any other faith will be indicted for treasonable felony, the punishment of which is death. Therefore his parents, devoted and respected Moslems, had cause to worry about their beloved servant of the Merciful who seemed to be heading into the hangman’s noose.
A year later, Abdou and his spiritual father went to college on government scholarship. Undaunted and inspired by the logic of the Divine Principle, these two young men defied the dreaded law and began spreading the good news of the long-expected salvation to their friends. As college students, they lived at the center with the Japanese missionary to Mauritania who was there not as a missionary but as a Journalist.
“To compare the Bible with the Koran is regarded as sacrilegious,” Abdou said. And this they were doing to the consternation of some of their friends who, in dread of their law, regarded their action as an abomination. And others were also angry about these two heretics. In time, word got to the police that there were two heretics on campus working to pollute people’s faith in Islam. The chief of police, overwhelmed with anger, came to the center with his assistant and several of his men, to apprehend those trying to disturb the stability and peace of Islam in Mauritania.
“Two of our friends had come to visit us that day and we were sharing with them the D.P., using the Islamic perspective,” Abdou said. Meanwhile, policemen had surrounded their house. Abdou, his spiritual father and their two friends were the only ones in the house. The Japanese missionary had gone to inspect another house which they also planned to buy later. The police Chief asked sternly, “What are you people doing here?”. Trying to avoid the issue of religion, Abdou replied, “We are students living with this man (the missionary) to avoid excessive socialization with our friends so that we can concentrate in our studies”. Unsatisfied with Abdou’s answer, the Chief went straight to pick out the D.P. level 4 among the many books on the shelf. This had Abdou and his friends surprised, as they were unaware that the police had come there on information.
Holding the D.P. book like an exhibit, the Chief pointed threateningly at them, “You are here learning about Christianity?” and referring to the D.P., he thundered, “This is the unification of Christianity. It means you are no more Moslems!”
They were later taken to the police station where a junior officer interrogated them. When asked by the junior officer who is Rev. Moon, Abdou answered that he is a great religious man. Reprimanded in custody, reports from the police made his parents terribly upset. This was a scandal not only to the young men’s parents but to the nation. Abdou and his spiritual father were drowned in disrepute; their scholarships were withdrawn, friends disappeared and the Japanese ‘fake Journalist’ was kicked out of the country.
After one grueling week in custody, they were brought before the police chief who instigated fear in them to renounce their new faith or face death according to the law. A statement of renunciation was made out and they were forced to sign it. But let it be clear that Abdou and his spiritual father only signed a denial on a mere piece of paper; they never renounced their new faith.
They came out of custody with a renewed spirit, counting themselves more worthy to continue their mission. It was like going to the bottom of hell, being hit first by Satan, thereby creating a condition for God to claim indemnity. The exertion of human will is powerless without the knowledge to apply that will. Abdou and his spiritual father already had this knowledge from the D.P. and so, to exert the will became easy.
In 1983, Abdou and his spiritual father, now united strongly in their mission, went to Senegal to celebrate God’s Day. Senegal, a non-sectarian nation, has a stable mission. There they met Rev. David Hose who introduce them to Rev. Kwak. They were appointed later as missionaries to Mauritania by Rev. Kwak who saw their determination when he visited that country. With the financial support from the headquarters, they were able to focus well on their mission and continue their education.
Abdou and his spiritual father began an underground movement by first witnessing to their relatives. Abdou’s elder brother and two cousins, married and well versed in Islamic studies, joined the movement with great enthusiasm. The seriousness of his relatives helped the mission to grow later. Graduating the same year with his spiritual father, who immediately proceeded to the seminary, Abdou earned a Bachelor’s degree in French Literature and later a Master’s in African Literature at Dakar university in Senegal. His elder brother became the national leader until now when Abdou and his spiritual father left.
In 1989, a providential fortune spilled down when the Mauritanian government expelled blacks to Senegal and Mali due to racial problems. Many of the Mauritanian refugees received the D.P. and among them, 800 were blessed in 1995. And another 4,000 of them in Mali are being prepared for next blessing.
Abdou believes that leaving his country is like, “going for a period of preparation to come back with better spiritual ability to do the mission back home”. He came to the seminary in 1994 to prepare himself for the great task ahead. “I can feel True Parents’ spirit here always and walking on True Father’s trails, I feel inspired as I step on His footprints”, he said. He also concurs that the seminary is an international place that helps us go beyond our national and racial boundaries. Abdou will graduate this June. “If I have my way,” he said, “I would like to go back to my country one day because there is a lot to do there.” Blessed in 1992 to Mara from Cameroon, Abdou has twin boys.
Jones Iziomo