Burkina Faso: Inter-religious dialogue for peace: “It is the diversity of religions that gives meaning to religion”


An article by Ibrahima Traoré for Lefaso.net

“Live in peace despite our differences”. This was the theme for an inter-religious conference for peace held Saturday, January 13, 2018 in Dédougou. The activity, initiated by the Ahmadiyya Islamic community in Burkina Faso, saw the participation of traditional chiefs, the Catholic community and the Protestant community, each of whom sent a message of peace.

A religion that does not teach love and live together does not deserve the status of being called religion. This is essentially the message of the various speakers. The aim is, according to the Regional Missionary of the Islamic Ahmadiyya Community, Abdoulaye Ouedraogo, to highlight the fact that religions do not have to fight each other; because they all emanate from one God. For him, religious coexistence in Burkina must be constantly promoted and consolidated by religious leaders and elders in order to inculcate the dynamics in the younger generation. He considers that dialogue and the strengthening of fraternity and solidarity … are essential ingredients to maintain. Hence the relevance of the theme: “Living in peace despite our differences”.

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Question related to this article:
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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Several speeches and communications marked this day. The recent attack against gendarmes in the region (Boucle du Mouhoun) also motivates the choice of this theme, according to Abdoulaye Ouedraogo. “We want to give our support to people who have been attacked and who have been bruised in their hearts; We, as an Islamic Ahmadiyya, stand in solidarity with them. What they are doing is not Islam. It is purely barbarism, highway robbery,” he lashed out before calling the youth in particular to remain vigilant not to be caught in ignoble acts, which have nothing to do with Islam. For, he argues, the Koran states in Chapter 2 verse 257 that there is no compulsion in religion.

The Abbot Jean-Baptiste Davou pointed out that the inter-religious conference is important for the culture of peace, for the knowledge of the other. “When we accept to exchange, we get to know each other better, to love each other better, to help each other better. It is the refusal to dialogue, to exchange, which makes for ignorance of the other. And when you do not know something, you do not give it much value, “he said.

The prefect of the department of Dédougou, Emile Hien, also representing the governor, congratulated and encouraged the holding of this conference “of the culture of peace and dialogue”. He offered advice that “Religion must not be a source of division, of violence. It must be an opportunity to strengthen living together “. For Mr. Hien, it is the diversity of religions that gives meaning to religion. Let us all be peacemakers, he said, pledging to support this initiative and ensure its sustainability in the region.

Also satisfied were the traditional chiefs who believe that the inter-religious conference for peace is in line with the founding principle of the city of Dédougou which is peace.

Indeed, argues the elder Pierre Dakuo, we can not have prosperity without peace. And all that goes in this direction has the full support of the traditional chiefs of Dédougou. From the administrators and the speakers to the participants, all wished the durability of the Inter-religious Conference for Peace.