Warning: there are some grim pictures below, if you don’t want to see them.
Maybe the first thing I should say is that I love Muslims. I have Muslim friends. For the Christian, ISLAM stands for I Sincerely Love All Muslims. Islamophobia is not in the spirit of Christ. With that stated up front, please read the following:
I’ve been sick and mostly in bed for a month now, but one of the reasons I can’t slip into self-pitying mode is knowing what is happening to the people of Central African Republic. You might not have known of its existence even, because it is just about the least significant country in the world – hence no international outcry about what is happening right now.
I’m aware of it because I spent a short stint there in 1994 which profoundly marked me. I came back physically wrecked with malaria and amoebic dysentery but deeply touched by the remarkable people of faith I lived with. Pierre (named changed), the church leader, is sending out daily updates of what is going on right now.
How to encapsulate a highly complex scenario in a few sentences?
Similar to Mali, this is all part of the fallout of post-Gadaffi Libya, with lots of weapons and anarchy in much of North Africa spilling over into the surrounding nations. The CAR could be the next Somolia. A ragtag and disparate band of splinter rebel groups – now the SELEKA coalition – kicked out the government last month. They are all fighting under the banner of Islam and only submit to their own respective warlords, so it’s a recipe for carnage. The UN is completely emasculated, the French as former colonial power don’t have the political will and are already caught up in Mali, so this largely Christian country is being destroyed. The very limited international new coverage – you have to really search it out – plays down the religious dynamic as you’d expect in the name of political correctness.
I care passionately for any person, regardless of faith. But the agenda here is very clear. With outside funding, there has been a clear plan for the islamization of the CAR. Pastors have been targeted, many have been killed, already restrictions on worship have been implemented, and all the key new appointments are Muslims. And don’t think this will be a moderate Islam.
Within a few months when the rebels moved into Mali and imposed Shariah law, an area the size of France was expunged of any, yes any, Christian church or witness. It happens very fast and ruthlessly. In Egypt, it’s happening more slowly because of the vast Christian minority. In Syria, Christians have been used by Islamists as human shields against Assad’s government shells and their long term future is desperately bleak. The strong Christian presence in Iraq has been decimated.
Most of us in the West would prefer simply not to know. It’s just too grim. But I lived with Pierre, I played with his kids. His nephew was murdered two days ago. The capital city, indeed the whole country, is now lawless. Rape, murder, pillage is happening as you read this. Look at this sample of horrific pictures and weep with them. Pierre has lots of people huddled in his house right now. And when the dust settles, unless God intervenes powerfully in these crucial days, yet another country will suddenly swing to being under a strict Islamic regime with limited freedoms for minorities and women.
So may you, as has happened to me, gain a renewed sense of perspective of your problems right now.
Please pray, please share this with others, please act.