Burkina Faso priest: ‘The world doesn’t seem to have understood that our country runs the risk of disappearing’
More and more Christians in Burkina Faso are becoming victims of Islamist persecution. As a gesture of solidarity, a delegation of Aid to the Church in Need has recently visited the West African Country for an interview with Father Pierre Claver Belemsigri, secretary-general of the episcopal conference of Burkina and Niger.
S4C has reported just recently about the situation in Burkina Faso, where the plight of Christians has worsened due to religious intolerance. Father Claver, speaking with ACN, has detailed the general conditions of his country.
ACN: Burkina Faso has always been proud of the harmonious coexistence of Christians and Muslims. Nonetheless, many people are complaining that the Islam of today now has little in common with the Islam of their childhood. Do you agree?
Father Claver: We have been seeing changes for around 20 or 30 years now. This is due to the fact that for some years now certain Islamic ideologies originating on the Arabian Peninsula have been imported here.
How is change evident?
In the past, it was always the custom for those of both communities to gather together for all each other’s major events, both the happy and the sad ones. For example, Christians would congratulate the Muslim members among their relatives on their religious feasts, and vice versa. But among some of the younger people it is already by no means so self-evident as it once was, on account of the influence of certain radical Islamic tendencies.
Dozens of Christians have been killed in the last few years. Who exactly is attacking them? Are they jihadists or simply criminals?
Often, we don’t even know who it is who is attacking us. We don’t know our enemy. In most cases, no one claims responsibility for the attacks.
Is the faith growing in your country? Already a quarter of the population belongs to the Catholic Church.
The faith is growing. And not simply on account of demographic growth, but also because of genuine conversions to Christianity.
Episcopate of Burkina Faso: ‘Our country is on the verge of extinction’
For Father Claver’s full interview with ACN, click here.
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