20 years after Rwanda, a new African genocide in Central African Republic

“… As a Muslim I believe this latest tragedy sends us a message we must not ignore, whether we are in Africa, Asia or here in North America. The problems we Muslims face are the making of our poor political and religious leadership. If we wish to join the rest of humanity, we need to get rid of those who now hold our reins. We need to free ourselves from bondage. If we don’t, the Central African Republic will not be the last tragedy we will face.”

Toronto Sun comment masthead

Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun

“This has become a country where people are not just killed, they are tortured, mutilated, burned and dismembered … Children have been decapitated, and we know of at least four cases where the killers have eaten the flesh of their victims.”

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was describing conditions in the Central African Republic (CAR), where the country’s entire minority Muslim population faces either death or expulsion at the hands of the Christian majority.

CAR killings

According to Amnesty International, the troubles in CAR began when the Muslim “Seleka” militia started a murderous rampage in the northeast of the country.

It then seized the capital of Bangui in March, 2013, ousting president Francois Bozize, a Christian, and replacing him with a Muslim, Michel Djotodia.

Amnesty reports that over the next 10 months, the mainly Muslim militia killed countless Christian civilians, burned numerous villages and looted thousands of homes.

To fight the Seleka troops, the Christian population organized their own militias and started carrying out reprisal raids on Muslim neighbourhoods.

By November, 2013, violence reached such levels, the UN warned CAR was at risk of spiraling into genocide.

Michel Djotia

Michel Djotia

Unable to hold on to power, on January 10 of this year, Djotodia resigned and fled the country.

With him gone, the tide turned against the Muslim militia, resulting in an unprecedented orgy of reprisal revenge attacks on Muslims across the country that have not stopped.

The Associated Press reported thousands of Muslims who tried to flee the sectarian violence in Bangui were turned back by peacekeepers as crowds of angry Christians shouted, “we’re going to kill you all.” As Muslims tried to flee to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, Reuters reported Christian militias were blocking the main roads used by Muslim civilians and attacking the refugees.

CAR killings2According to Amnesty, the stated goal of the Christian militias is now to rid the country of Muslims forever. And as the world looks on, the killing continues. At this rate, CAR will be Muslim-free in a matter of months.

The killings come at a time when the world is observing the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

Canadian Sen. Romeo Dallaire, who witnessed the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as a UN peacekeeper, says, “Let’s not divorce what’s happening in the Central African Republic with what happened 20 years ago in Rwanda.” In an interview with the Guardian, he said, “We’ve actually established a damn pecking order and the sub-Saharan black African — yes we’re interested but it just doesn’t count enough to spill our blood, to get embroiled in something complex that will need longer-term stability and influence.”

CAR MapFor Muslims around the world, witnessing yet another Muslim community suffering mass murder, and so soon after the killings in Myanmar, it’s traumatic. It’s easy to start believing in conspiracy theories and to become addicted to victimhood.

However, as a Muslim I believe this latest tragedy sends us a message we must not ignore, whether we are in Africa, Asia or here in North America.

The problems we Muslims face are the making of our poor political and religious leadership.

If we wish to join the rest of humanity, we need to get rid of those who now hold our reins. We need to free ourselves from bondage. If we don’t, the Central African Republic will not be the last tragedy we will face.

4 comments for “20 years after Rwanda, a new African genocide in Central African Republic

  1. John Coelho
    April 15, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    The Rwandan genocide was not due to any Muslim- Christian divide but to over population as has been demonstrated in Collapse by Jared Diamond, a must read for those who want to see the intersection between the environment and political phenomena.

  2. TarekFatah
    April 16, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    John, no one I know suggested the Rwandan genocide was due to any Muslim-Christian divide. May I suggest you take another read of my column to clear the air.

  3. Boo Hoo`
    September 5, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    AGAIN with the denial you so often point out….please tell me there are other muslims that are against this complete disregard for other people. C’mon whitey, wake up and get your head out of the chablis..cuz if you continue to ignore, you will no longer be able to enjoy basics like wine, education or freedom of thought. I asked a girl how she was able to reconcile her two study majors. Feminisim and Islamic studies. How I asked her was like this . How do you reconcile feminism with Sharia Law? Her answer was that people are racists and they believe the mainstream media. Ya know? come to think of it she never did answer my question……

  4. PRATAP
    November 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    The answer is LOVE. If everybody respected everybody none of this would have happen. People have to remember that every ethnic, religious and culture will face their problem. Learn to love and forgive to hate aka jay z

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*