Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Thursday | February 7, 2013
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Blood of Jesus is stronger
Devon Dick

VALERIE DIXON claims that the 'Blood does not lie' meaning that her DNA tests show, she is from the ancestry of Hausa. What do her DNA tests have to do with the theory of Sultana Afroz that Sam Sharpe, our national hero, was a Muslim?

According to Dixon, 'All that Dr Afroz was trying to say is that her research reveals that Sam Sharpe ... followed the Islamic principle of non-transgression (non-violence) ...' Assuming that there is an Islamic principle of non-violence, it does not follow that, because Sharpe was non-violent, he was a Muslim. It would be saying also that since there is a Hindu principle of non-violence and Sharpe was non-violent, then he was a Hindu.

Additionally, Professor Maureen Warner-Lewis, historian and linguist, was thorough and scathing in rebutting Afroz's claims (See Jamaica's Muslim Past: Misrepresentations, Journal of Caribbean History 37 (2003) 294-316. I have not seen a response to Warner-Lewis; therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Warner-Lewis cannot be refuted.

Afroz was found wanting as a researcher in my book, The Cross and the Machete. It quotes Afroz, "a good proportion of the millions of Africans forcefully brought to the West Indies were Muslims." However, Afroz provided no figures for the size of the Muslim population (page 93).

Furthermore, when the Muslims influenced the revolt in Brazil, though they were in the minority, there was evidence of the use of Muslim symbols such as Muslim amulets, clothes peculiar to Muslims, prayers and passages from the Koran (page 94). However, in the Baptist War of 1831, there was no evidence of such Muslim paraphernalia. In addition, no evidence emerged from the trials, their public hangings, that anyone was a Muslim, and there was also no mention of the word Islam or passages from the Koran. If you do not believe me, then go and read the court case found in the records of the National Archives of Kew, England.

Dixon claims Sharpe "formed a secret society and detached it from the Baptist Missionary organisation" However, The Cross and the Machete provided overwhelming evidence that Sharpe was a deacon of the English Baptist church and he never formed a secret society. Because Sharpe would meet in secret does not mean he formed a secret society. Because the Cabinet meets in secret and there are official secrets, does not mean the Cabinet is a secret society, as the office of the Contractor General already knows.

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Dixon states that, based on her research, "Rev Dick needs to examine the position of oath-taking and martyrdom in Islam, as they played a prominent role during the rebellion of 1831-1832. Christianity is silent on these issues as the crucifixion of Jesus ends martyrdom in Christianity." I would recommend that Dixon reads a paper delivered last year at the Sam Sharpe Conference at the University of the West Indies, Mona, by a Larry Kreitzer, British Bible scholar, titled Kissing the Book. I am confident she would gain some insight into oath-taking and be reminded that martyrdom in Christianity did not end with the death of Christ; Stephen and James were martyred.

Finally, in Sharpe's last conversation with Henry Bleby, Presbyterian missionary, he stated he was relying on the blood of Jesus for his redemption and the foundation on which his struggle for freedom relied. And when Bleby reminded him that the Scriptures taught men to be content with the station allotted to them, Sharpe responded "if I have done wrong in that, I trust I shall be forgiven; for I cast myself upon the Atonement."

The blood of Jesus was stronger in the life of Sharpe than any other bloodline.

Rev Dr Devon Dick is pastor of Boulevard Baptist Church. He is author of From Rebellion to Riot, and The Cross and the Machete. Send comments to columns@gleanerjm.com.

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