Religion in Peace and Reconciliation: Case of Central African Republic

Often times, religion is shunned as the cause of conflict in many parts of the world. In the case of Central African Republic, there are three leaders who have used religion as a positive force in the midst of the ongoing violence. 

Pastor Nicolas Guerekoyame-Gbangou, president of the Evangelical Alliance in the CAR, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, president of the Central African Islamic Community, and Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga have begun working together calling for peace and unity while the country is in turmoil. In fall last year, the leaders traveled throughout the world visitng Brussels, Washington DC, London, New York speaking out against the notion that religion has caused the Central African conflict. Instead they insisted, the conflict has social and political underpinnings. Due to the political coup between former CAR President Francois Bozize, who identifies as a Christian, and now former CAR President Michael Djotodia, who identifies as Muslim. Unfortunately, religion was then used as a form of discrimination and violence to target the different political supporters. 

Despite this, the leaders continued to stress that the conflict is a socio-political crisis and that not everyone in the country is violent. They instead spoke about the number of people who went out of their way to protect their neighbors no matter their religion. For instance, during one of their New York visits, they spoke of cases where Christians were sheltering Muslims and vice versa. 

In addition to advocating for peace,the leaders also called on the United Nations, specifically the UN Security Council, for a peacekeeping operation. After the establishment of the UN Peacekeeping Operation, two of the three leaders met with the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in Geneva. 

These leaders continue to work tirelessly to use religion as a platform of peace. 

Read more about their work here: 

http://worldea.org/news/4418/wea-supports-struggling-citizens-of-ce...;

http://worldea.org/news/4379/central-african-republic-reconciliatio...

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/CARReligiousLeaders.aspx

http://time.com/55813/dont-blame-the-central-african-republic-confl...;

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Tags: African, Central, Republic, and, peace, reconciliation, religion

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Comment by Marielle Ali on September 8, 2014 at 12:52am
Comment by Al LeBlanc on August 28, 2014 at 3:20pm

Marielle:  Thank You for Sharing !  What Frustrates me is that such Outstanding"Religions for Peace/Interfaith Efforts" and Papal Efforts are not Collectively taking over the Media and CyberSpace to Combat the Terrorists Flood of News.  That is Why We Need "Bottom Up" Cyberpeacefare Tsunami.  It is up to us/all individuals of consciences to use our instantly available cyberpower and cause universal peace uprising.  The question "what butterfy(flies)  will initiate the cyberpeace tsunami".  I know one person who "tried tried again" (the CyberPeaceGadfly).

Comment by Marielle Ali on August 28, 2014 at 10:21am

I certainly agree with your thoughts on this. There is a great organization known as Religions for Peace, and it advocates for interfaith dialogue in promoting peace around the world. Here is the link: http://www.religionsforpeaceinternational.org/?lang=en 

Comment by Al LeBlanc on August 8, 2014 at 7:29pm

Valentine: If only such Courageous Interfaith Religous Leadership could swell into a tsunami > The Pope also led a Courageous Interfaith Religious-Political Prayer at the Vatican for Peace in the Holy Land (now being devasted).  Takes a lot of people exercising their  personal cyber consciencespower at this insanity of humanity/us/all.  Al

Comment by Valentine Olushola Oyedipe on August 5, 2014 at 5:54am

Inter-faith approach to  conflicts and violence in regions that are presently facing the challenge under the facade religious War should be taken as a matter of urgency as this will contend the indiscriminate use and manipulation of religion for political and economical ends.Thus the inter-faith approach in CAR is a welcome development and should be sustained and as well be emulated by the various regions contending with the challenge.The truth of the matter is that the manipulation of religion sows the seed of anguish and bitterness in the short run but in the long run the truth always stand as exemplified in CAR and Nigeria where both Christians and Muslims came together to protect each other during the time of worship having understood the truth.   

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