Burkina Faso: Struggle against radicalization: Imams and preachers strengthen their knowledge


An article from Le Faso

The Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Social Cohesion, Simeon Sawadogo, presided, on January 10, 2020, the ceremony for the end of training of imams, preachers and Koranic masters on human rights, the culture of peace, health and the environment. The trainees undertook to propagate the lessons received for a Burkina Faso of peace.

We must cultivate peace

During their internship, the imams, preachers and Koranic masters learned the need to cultivate peace and this goes through the behavior and the teachings which are given in Koranic schools and mosques. The lesson seems well understood by the trainees. The first module focused on education for a culture of peace. We have learned that you have to be tolerant, just, fair and cultivate inner peace in order to share it with family, neighborhood and city members, said Harouna Tao, Imam-preacher of Titao. In this regard, he has promised to teach and work now to promote peace around him and urged his fellow believers to do the same.

The second module focused on human rights and legal remedies. The trainers taught the learners the basics of human rights and the need to respect them for better living together. We now know the rights of the individual, of people. We have also learned, when your rights are violated, how to go to court to seek redress. We will encourage these attitudes in our mosques, our preachings in order to promote a good coexistence between Muslims and other religious communities added Imam Harouna Tao.

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Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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The last module, health and the environment in relation to sustainable development, was a framework for learners to understand the need to preserve nature for future generations. A teaching that has been well received by religious leaders and who promise to apply it. A healthy and supportive environment contributes to the health of the entire population, which prepares the future for future generations. Development in the new vision must take into account the future of the planet, of future generations. If we ask ourselves which child we leave on this earth and which earth we leave to our offspring, it is important that we work to preserve the environment, added Imam Tao.

Training was necessary

The 20 days of training were initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and carried out in partnership with the Burkinabè government and the Circle of Islamic Studies, Research and Training (CERFI). For Siméon Sawadogo, training was very necessary in view of the national context. He urged trainees to train imams, preachers and Quranic teachers who did not participate in the training.

The government has realized that we must work to combat violent extremism and radicalization. These are facts that we have seen in our society and that the government is working to eradicate. ECOWAS has been good enough to support the Burkinabè government and the sub-region in this struggle by training the first officials who are responsible for teaching others about religious precepts.

So these are imams, preachers who have been trained here at CERFI thanks to the support of ECOWAS and in their turn, they will go to train people in the medersas so that in their preaching in mosques and religious places, they can banish hate speech and they can work so that people learn how to live together and know the true precepts of religion ;, said Simeon Sawadogo.

The interns are now envoys of the Burkinabè government to their co-religionists in order to block the road to the violent extremism and radicalization that fuel terrorism in countries of the sub-region including Burkina.