According to FIDES – the News Service of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples – the Imam of Bangui has called for all sides to act impartially in the CAR crisis.
“We cannot ignore what Seleka has done, and provoked today’s anti-Muslim reactions”, the Imam of Bangui, Oumar Kobine Layama stated in an interview with metronews.fr. He said that “some Imams present the situation in the Central African Republic with a partial view; they only denounce the violence of Christians against Muslims, without mentioniong what Seleka has done. (..) When they were in power, they were not able to handle the situation in the country, they looted and committed violence. If the Central African Muslims had not opted for complicit silence, all this would not have lasted more than a month. If we want peace, we must be impartial and condemn all forms of violence”.
Seleka is a coalition of rebel groups, mostly composed of Muslims, who had seized power in Central Africa in March 2013 and then were thrown out by Anti Balaka groups, often described as Christians (although the history of these groups is more complex, see Fides 27/01/2014 ). The Anti Balaka were responsible, in turn, of crimes against Muslims, but also against Christians.
Imam Kobine reiterated that the Central African crisis is “political and military, not religious“. “No religious leader in the Country has launched an appeal regarding religious clash: the proof is that we live together”, added the Imam, who together with the Catholic Archbishop of Bangui continues to launch appeals for peace and to visit the displaced. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/03/2014)