The nuncio to Ivory Coast and other local bishops have condemned the Feb. 25 destruction of two mosques, warning that the country’s political struggle must not become a religious conflict.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Ambrose Madtha joined Bishop Salomon Lezoutie of Yopougon and other religious leaders in a visit to several mosques, seeking to show the Church’s commitment to inter-religious peace in the embattled country, CNA reports.
Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo – who recently lost the presidential election – have reportedly burned down two mosques in Yopougon, a neighborhood in the city of Abidjan, as part of a campaign intended to terrorize supporters of his political rival Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo, a Catholic, has refused to give up the country’s presidency despite losing to the Muslim candidate Ouattara in Ivory Coast’s November 2010 election.
Leaders from the Forum of Religious Confessions of Ivory Coast likewise described the situation as “purely political,” and decried attempts to exploit religious tensions for a political purpose.
“For this reason,” they wrote, “we strongly condemn the attacks on various places of worship.”
“We want to remind people that places of worship are holy and sacred – and, like embassies, are accorded the status of extraterritoriality. The churches, mosques and temples, then, are inviolable places.”
Catholic leaders join condemnation of Ivory Coast mosque burnings
(Catholic News Agency)
/CC 3.0) (Mosque in Abidjan)