News / Africa

Cameroon Preaches Interreligious Tolerance

Cameroon has started a nationwide campaign against religions that preach violence. The campaign, which also is encouraging interreligious tolerance, is targeting young people who allegedly are being contacted to join the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.

Cameroon has always prided itself on its peaceful character, even amid a glaring heterogeneity that cuts across religion, language and culture.

Religious intolerance is rising in both Nigeria to the west and the Central African Republic to the east, though, and so Cameroon's government has embarked on a campaign to promote religious dialogue.

Imam Djibrilla Ousman of Cameroon's Muslim council said the campaign for tolerance is being carried out in all denominations. "We have talked about interreligious dialogue. You can be an imam, a priest or a pastor. We are doing our best, educating our children, our populations, our faithful servants in churches to live in peace."

Boko Haram's trangressions

To many Muslims in Cameroon, the Boko Haram phenomenon is being instigated by a hate group that is simply using the name of Islam to defend a cause that has no foundation in conventional Muslim beliefs.  

Imam Sitan Mohammed said true Islam promotes friendly relations between neighbors.

"Good neighborliness is trying to treat every people around us in the best on manners. When Islam starts to look at neighbors, Islam goes beyond looking if they are Muslims or non Muslims and so on," he said. "Islam pays attention on the fact that they are human beings like us. Allah says serve Allah and do good to parents, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near and neighbors who are strangers."

David Kengang of the Full Gospel Mission said Pentecostal denominations should join the crusade to make Cameroon an exception in Africa, where religious violence has surged in recent years. He said they intend to take the campaign to other African countries.

"In the African continent there are very turbulent areas that militate against peace, and we felt that since Africa is a religious continent, it is very important especially for Christians and Muslims in Africa to meet and reason together on matters of peace for development," he said.

Working together

Cameroon also invited other countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to join in the solidarity campaign.

Nafissatou Salifou of Niger said thus far, her country has avoided the type of conflict tearing apart Nigeria and the C.A.R. "In Niger for now, even though we are surrounded by many countries that have such conflicts, we do not live such conflicts because our people are very tolerant, and let me also point out the strength of our government. Our government is very very strict and very strong," she said.

Religious tolerance, however, has not been embraced by all, said Neveille Beri, a Catholic man in Cameroon. "Christians complain that Muslims wake up in the morning and start praying using [loud] speakers, disturbing the neighborhood. Presently, when you look at Pentecostal churches, they also have been using the speakers. They pray loudly even near the mosques so this has been creating tension between the two parties."

The campaign for religious tolerance is part of plans to check Boko Haram, which is said to be infiltrating into Cameroon.

The Nigerian sect has killed thousands of people in the past five years as part of what it says is a campaign to turn northern Nigeria into an Islamic state.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid