Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - A day of prayer for peace has been proclaimed on Aug. 12 (eve of national independence) by the religious leaders of Bouar in the Central African Republic. The Country is experiencing a difficult situation since the rebel coalition Seleka drove out former President François Bozizé and the rebel leader Michel Djotodia took office.
According to a note sent to Fides Agency by Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, a Carmelite missionary, the initiative was taken during the meeting of religious leaders held in Bouar on July 19. The meeting was attended by 31 people representing Catholics, Protestants and Muslims that prepared a message that was read in the Protestant and Catholic churches, and mosques.
"Our faith in God, whether we are Christians or Muslims, challenges us and pushes us to hear the cries of pain of our brothers and sisters, for several months immersed in the war", reads the message.
"No faith, be it Christian or Muslim, allows violence, murder, theft, looting, rape. We strongly condemn them. We invite all to be faithful to God and His Law. If all believers observed the law of God, there would be no war! "
Addressing the authorities, religious leaders invite them "to respect the oath to serve the Country" to be "honest men and women," to have "an attitude of service and respect for everyone, of any ethnicity, religion, gender or political party ". "Some areas of the State are more sensitive than others, in particular health and education. The State has a specific duty, which is to pay its own officials. But there are also obligations to be carried out by officials! We invite everyone to return to work, and then trust and respect will return" says the message.
The religious leaders also launched a strong appeal to the Seleka rebels to convert and to put an end to "the long series of crimes, murders, rapes, looting". "The armed men must have respect of the human person, respect for the State and its officials. Respect for everyone, especially women, children and the sick".
The message concludes by recalling the sufferings of women ("All of us, Christians and Muslims recognize that women are often those who have suffered most among the population") and launch an appeal to young people asking them not to give in to discouragement and not to take the path of violence. (L.M.) (Agency Fides 30/07/2013)