Religious violence and the seeds of hate in CAR

Published: 27/Nov/2013
Source: IRIN

Shocked by an escalation of killings, rapes and other abuses committed by Muslims against Christians, and vice versa, in the Central African Republic (CAR), leading clerics from both faiths recently travelled together to preach peace and listen to tales of horror.

The level of violence, lawless and impunity that prevails in CAR – where a “human catastrophe of epic proportions is unfolding”, according to Amnesty International – is so great that Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga and Oumar-Kobine Layama, the country’s leading imam, had to travel under an armed escort.

The latest chapter in CAR’s history of violence began in December 2012, when a coalition of predominantly Muslim rebel forces – known as Seleka – bolstered by mercenaries from neighbouring Chad and Sudan and convicts sprung from prison, advanced southwards, eventually toppling president Francois Bozizé in March.


In CAR’s religious violence Muslims are equated with foreigners: ‘People from southern CAR frequently refer to all north-easterners as ‘foreigners’ (Chadian or Sudanese), meaning that regardless of their actual citizenship status, they do not belong in the country.”

Read more

Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious
Regions: Central Africa, Central African Republic
Year: 2013