Religious leaders address violence in Central African Republic
Transform Minnesota calls on Christians to be peacemakers
In early April, Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and other religious leaders traveled to the Central African Republic (CAR) in an effort to help bring peace to the troubled nation, according to a press release from the NAE. The peacemaking trip was organized by the U.S. State Department and also included Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Imam Mohamed Elsanousi, director of Community Outreach for the Islamic Society of North America.
Anderson talked about the violence that has gripped the country. “The stories of brutality against innocent people are heart breaking,” Anderson said, via the release. “There have been rapes, mutilations and murders. One man told about his 13 brothers being burned to death. Another reported a hand grenade thrown into people praying in a mosque. All but seven of the 36 mosques in Bangui have been destroyed. Church buildings in villages have been burned down.”
The stories of brutality against innocent people are heart breaking.
“They say that Christian and Muslim militias do not represent most Christians and Muslims in the country,” the release said. “Many Christian churches are providing safe places for their Muslim neighbors, and Muslims have sheltered Christians. Christians and Muslim leaders have encouraged the international media to remember that the violence by the militias contradicts their religious traditions.” Carl Nelson, president and CEO of Transform Minnesota, believes the violence in the CAR serves as a reminder for Christians to embrace peace. “Jesus calls His followers to be peacemakers, and we urge those people in the Central African Republic who are followers of Christ to seek peace and work toward peaceful solutions to the conflict in their country,” Nelson said.
NAE Travels to Central African Republic Central African Churches Pledge Action Against Christians Who Don’t Pursue Peace: Evangelical alliance challenges militias that ‘distort’ Jesus’ teachings and ‘discredit’ his followers.