AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "No to the exploitation of religion to sow hatred and division" say Bishops and Imams

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 dialogue   violence   peace  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "Religion is used to sow hatred among the population and divide the country", denounce in two different but concordant documents, the Catholic Bishops and the Imams of the Central African Republic.
"We draw the attention of Central Africans to avoid revenge that could lead to genocide and therefore to the realization of a hidden program to divide us. Be vigilant to avoid manipulation", the Bishops write in their memorandum entitled "Who can separate us from the love of Christ?".
"The acts of violence that have been happening for some time in Central Africa are aimed at turning the political crisis into a confessional crisis", say Islamic leaders in the memorandum "Peace, nothing but peace". The Catholic, Evangelical and Central African Muslim leaders in condemning the violence "have joined as one man to recognize the secular nature of our Country and the freedom of worship guaranteed by the Constitution to block the road to those who want to transform the political crisis into a community or confessional crisis", the Imams say.
Recent acts of violence have hit Muslim and Christian places of worship, with the murder of imams, pastors and priests. We recall the killing of Fr. Joseph Désiré Angbabata in Séko in March (see Fides 24/3/2018) and of Don Albert Toungoumale-Baba on May 1st in the assault on Notre-Dame de Fatima parish in Bangui, in which other 25 people died (see Fides 2/5/2018).
The Bishops ask the government to explain the Russian presence in Central Africa (Moscow sent instructors, mercenaries and weapons in support of the local armed forces) and to draw up "a reliable toll on the number of direct and indirect victims of the conflict".
Finally, the pastors of the Catholic Church in Central Africa recommend that the government and MINUSCA (UN Mission in Central Africa) coordinate their efforts to protect the population, stop the violence and end the impunity enjoyed by the various armed groups that dominate the Country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/6/2018)