29/06/2018 — Bangui / République Centrafricaine — Déclaration de la CICA sur la situation actuelle en Centrafrique (Communauté islamique de Centrafrique) : un message de paix et d’espérance pour l’ensemble du pays / Statement by CICA on the current situation in the Central African Republic: a message of peace and hope for the whole country
Statement by CICA on the current situation in the Central African Republic
29/06/2018 — Bangui
On the sidelines of the ceremony marking the end of Ramadan 2018, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, President of the Islamic Community of Central Africa (CICA) and leader of the Platform of Religious Confessions of Central Africa (PCRC), spoke with journalists at a press conference held at the 7th arrondissement town hall on 15 June.
He also made a statement on behalf of CICA on the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic.
Here is the full statement.
The month of Ramadan this year, from the spiritual point of view, has taken place from beginning to end, like all other years, for it is a time when all Muslims throughout the world fulfill their duty to the Lord by applying verse 186 of chapter 2 of the Quran: “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you just as it was prescribed to those before you, perhaps you will fear God. And this year, once again, was devoted to the search for peace and forgiveness. May Allah grant all our wishes, may He disarm our hearts, may He make us victorious over the enemies of peace.
But from a time point of view, we have been through a very difficult period because of the deteriorating security situation in some parts of the country, as you know.
Since independence until the last crisis in 2012, the Central African Republic has experienced a peaceful cohabitation between the different clans, ethnic groups, religious denominations… Even if adventure misunderstandings and/or conflicts of any kind appeared, but we always managed to find common ground. This peaceful cohabitation, despite previous political misunderstandings that had nothing to do with religion, is being put to the test today after the Seleka coalition took power on 24 March 2013. Since then, there has been a climate of vengeful hatred, malice and animosity between the daughters and sons of the Central African Republic throughout the country, with all the consequences that have followed.
The elements of the Seleka have attacked everyone, Christian or Muslim, through acts of looting, robbery, rape, robbery, kidnapping, torture, murder and mass murder, leaving many innocent families bereaved and orphans, widows and many other victims sometimes abandoned to their plight.
This situation has provoked a series of reprisals throughout the country with the advent in December 2013 of militias called antibalaka who have also scoured every nook and cranny of the country, following the forced abandonment of power by the coalition sadera.
They attacked Muslims without distinction, creating total psychosis and chaos, resulting in tens of thousands of people being massacred and forced into exile, if not forced to move to live, either on sites ironically called Ledger or in churches or mosques.
All these armed groups (sadera coalition, antibalaka and others), although supported by politicians’ hidden arms, have been likened to religious movements: Muslims for some and Christians for others.
Faced with this challenge, the Islamic Community of Central Africa (CICA), a cultural, socio-economic and humanitarian organization responsible for guiding and sponsoring all the activities of Islamic associations, groups and non-governmental organizations throughout the Central African territory, has adopted a legalistic position to strongly condemn all forms of violence and human rights violations. This was reflected in the positions taken before, during and after the Seleka took power. Moreover, it is thanks to this foresight that CICA will contribute to the establishment of the Platform of Central African Religious Confessions (PCRC), long before the Seleka seized power. The role played by CICA is very important among other things its contributions to denying the confessional character of the crisis in Central Africa.
Multifaceted actions with the aim of restoring and strengthening peace and living together have been organized either by the National Executive Office, which I have the honour to chair, or through the basic organs of CICA, including the National Islamic Council (CNI), which includes all the imams of Central Africa, the National Office of Muslim Women (BNFMCA), the Central African Islamic Youth (JICA), the Organization of Central African Muslim Executives and Intellectuals (OCICM), etc.
The latest events in the country, particularly at PK5, Notre-Dame-de-Fatima parish, Kaga Bandoro, Bambari and elsewhere, are being orchestrated by the same enemies of peace with the aim not only of completing their plans to remove CAR from the map, but also, and above all, to have the religious wear the hat of an alleged interfaith war in the Central African Republic.
The Central African Islamic community would like to make the following clarification:
- The security crisis that the country is going through has affected all Central Africans without exception: Christians, Muslims, non-believers, including some recent examples:
- In May 2017, the imam of Bangassou was assassinated by armed men with many innocent believers at his side;
- In October 2017, the imam of Kembe with many believers was massacred in a mosque;
- In February 2017, a pastor was coldly murdered at PK5 in Bangui;
- In March 2018, an abbot was murdered in Seko (Ouaka) with believers;
- In May 2018, an abbot was murdered with believers in Notre-Dame-de-Fatima parish. And the list is very long, very dark.
- Many places of worship, both Muslim and Christian, were either vandalized, looted, burned down or completely destroyed. This deprives many Muslim and Christian believers of their duty to the Lord.
- The regret expressed by CICA is the discriminatory treatment of information by the various media. Yet most information networks in the country are independent. Almost all Muslims are confused with some armed groups, yet most only have Muslim names.
- If Mahamat commits an offence, designate him as a Mahamat and not as a Muslim subject;
- The inhabitants of the PK5 in the 3rd district of the city of Bangui are not only Muslims for the media professional to call this district a “Muslim enclave”. However, there are many Muslims living outside the PK5 and many non-Muslims living there;
- There are many Muslim victims of armed gangs everywhere, but very little is said about them.
The CICA, on this occasion, reiterates its call to armed groups on all sides to stop confusing the instrumentalization of violence by posing as defenders of religion, for there are only faithful servants of God who can make claims in the name of religion.
- CICA draws the attention of compatriots from all walks of life to the fact that certain inflammatory statements of options made on the airwaves through strolling microphones, interviews and radio broadcasts contribute to strengthening the position of enemies of peace who seek alibis that allow them to continue to support their sordid ambitions.
- CICA calls on the Internal Security Forces (ISF) remained impartial and to fulfill their duty to maintain public order without bias.
- CICA invites all the leaders of the republican institutions of the country, especially the elected representatives of the people, the heads of the various departments in the public and private administration, journalists and other compatriots to avoid falling into the trap of the enemies of the country and to use wisdom in the treatment of information and in communications, because we have still fallen very deeply into the crisis because of the hidden agendas of which many of us know neither the ins and outs.
CICA sincerely thanks all those who are working to strengthen peace and live it together.
Yes, we are condemned to live together.
Didn’t God say in the Qur’an chapter 21 verse 92: “Truly you all belonged to one community and I alone am your Lord, so worship only Me.
Happy Ramadan to all the Central African people.
May God give our leaders more wisdom in fulfilling their heavy responsibility.
God bless the Central African Republic.