26 DECEMBER 2019
CMRM Prays for Peace in Burkina Faso
The Claremont Main Road Masjid is shocked and outraged to learn of the terror attacks which took place on Christmas eve in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Thirty-five civilians mainly women, seven soldiers and 80 armed attackers on motorbikes were killed at the town of Arbinda, in the north of the country.
While no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Muslim jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIS have for years been fighting the state forces of Burkina, Niger and Mali. The brazen and callous attack on the eve of the Christian holy day has the obvious hallmark of a jihadist attack.
This is not an isolated attack on Christians in Burkina Faso this year. In the last such attack, on December 1st, 14 people were killed during Sunday service in a Protestant church in Hantoukoura, in the east. An armed group entered the church, opened fire, killing the pastor and some children.
Muslims have also not been spared violence. On Friday October 11th, gunmen opened fire inside the Grand Mosque in the village of Salmossi, killing 16 people while they were praying. There have also been unconfirmed reports of Imams being murdered in the north of the country. It is our view that all religious extremist groups seek to ignite sectarian religious conflict to divide and weaken people, and to sow chaos and mayhem. But it has largely been Christians, in their places of worship, on their holy days, and specifically because of their faith, who have been targeted for killing and terror.
The attack on Christmas Eve in Burkina Faso should not be overlooked by Muslims. The persistence and regularity of these callous deeds reflect the persistence of a perverse mentality of Islam. What efforts are we doing to insulate our communities and congregations against such perverse mentalities? What concrete efforts are we doing to dispel even perceptions of such mentalities by building love and cohesion with other faith communities?
CMRM extends our condolences to the people of Burkina Faso, the families of the victims, and our fellow Christian brothers and. sisters at the loss of their co-religionists on the eve of Christmas. We pray that the longstanding peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Christians, and people of other faiths be restored for the people of Burkina Faso.
We call on our fellow Muslims to more consistently express outrage and bear witness to the callous deeds being committed against Christians in Africa. We further call on all people of conscience to stand in solidarity with those facing persecution and injustice, no matter what faith.
Jaamia Galant (Secretary) A. Rashied Omar (Imam)
On Behalf of the CMRM Board