"Just Returned from Central Africa: Heart-broken, but Determined this Ramadan!"
Reported by Imam Ousman Drame, Director Mali Relief.
Assalamu Alaikum, dear Brothers & Sisters,
I was in Central Africa again and just returned last week. I saw the tragedy, despair and starvation first hand in Central Africa.
I also realized, how fortunate we are and the fact that we will be held accountable by Allah if we don't bring relief and hope to these neglected people.
Alhamdulliah, with your kind donations we were able to visit and offer relief to the Central Africa refugees again.
We delivered pre-Ramadan packages to more than 2,000 Central African refugee families! The package contained a bag of rice, sugar, cocking oil, 5 bars of soap, and a bag of medicine. These items would help them through Suhur and Iftar this Ramadan.
However, there are MANY more families left desperately waiting for our contribution!
During my visits to different refugee camps, Imams mentioned to me the need for portable mics and speakers for the Azan of Fajr, Maghrib, and Taraweeh pryers as well. A good portable mic and speaker costs around $350 and will need at least 10 of these.
As I visited the "school" for the refugee children in the camp of Garoua Boulai, I was heart-broken to see that the children had no access to any form of educational material. With $4,500 we can Insha Allah build a school facility, which would accommodate 600 to 800 children.
Please, pray for the voiceless Muslims of Central African Republic!
Brief history of the conflict in CAR:
- From 1889 to 1960, France occupied the area and promoted Christianity as a colonial power through missionaries.
- There is no history of major conflict between animists, Muslims, and Christians.
- The first break in this peaceful co-existence came when the country was subjected to the atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian fundamentalist group – a sort of Christian Taliban with its base in Uganda.
- Then, for ten years, General Francois Bozize, leader of an all-Christian army, ran the country, while getting himself elected as president.
- His abuse of power, delaying elections, and corruption led to general unrest, which gave rise to an alliance called the Séléka rebels.
- Tribes not aligned with this military regime, especially Muslims, were subject to institutionalized discrimination and violence. Many joined the Séléka rebels, forcing the government out in March 2013. They kept the old Prime Minister, but installed a new president who happened to be a Muslim.
- Supporters of the fallen regime refused to accept the new government and organized around “anti-balaka” militias, stoking hatred against Muslims.
- The CAR’s most prominent imam and grand mufti, Oumar Layama has stated that “It’s not a religious war. It is a political conflict.” He did not hesitate to denounce the tyranny of both the former Christian regime and the Séléka rebels.
- Imam Layama and the Catholic Archbishop, Nzapalainga, both have worked together to spread a message of inter-faith harmony and calm tensions, but the conflict continues.
- In December 2013, France sent 1,600 soldiers to the CAR. They disarmed the Séléka rebels, but not the Christian militias.
- In January 2014, the CAR president resigned at the French demand and a Christian president was installed.
- French forces are accused of protecting France’s nuclear energy interests, while doing little to stop the continuing ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Christian militias.
- Unfortunately, this is exactly what French did in Ivory Coast just a couple of years ago, which resulted in Muslims singled out for violence and forced out of their homes.