Advertisement

Clergy in Ivory Coast Eulogizes Muslim Leader as Interreligious Dialogue “ardent artisan”

Late Sheikh Aima Mamadou Traore Boikary who died April 13 reportedly after a long illness. He was 77 years old. Credit : Courtesy Photo

Following the death of the President of the Higher Council of Imams, Mosques and Islamic Affairs (COSIM) in Ivory Coast, members of the Clergy in the West African country have expressed their condolences to the Muslim community, describing the late religious leader as an “ardent artisan” interreligious dialogues, particularly between Muslims and Christians.

Sheikh Aima Mamadou Traore Boikary died Tuesday, April 13 reportedly after a long illness. He was 77 years old. 

In a Tuesday, April 12 message, the Parish Priest of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Riviera 2 of the Archdiocese of Abidjan, Fr. Abekan Norbert-Éric, said that the West African nation “has lost an ardent artisan of interreligious dialogue.”

“His death is an immense loss for the national community. Islamic-Christian dialogue has lost a great figure in the person of Sheikh Al Aïma Mamadou Traore,” Fr. Abekan says in his Facebook post. 

He goes on to describe the Sheikh as an “illustrious leader” whose “commitment to Islamic-Christian dialogue was exemplary.”

Advertisement

“He was one of those great men of faith who respected others, who put themselves at the school of dialogue, of peoples and their beliefs,” says Fr. Abekan. 

Recalling his interactions with the late Sheikh, the Ivorian Catholic Cleric says that they “both worked to build bridges of friendship and brotherhood between our communities so that a tangible framework for living together can be established.” 

“Sheikh Mamadou Traoré was fully aware that the fate of our communities was linked to these initiatives of reconciliation and cordial understanding,” says Fr. Abekan in his post.

According to him, the death of the Sheikh not only affects members of the Muslim community, but also members of other religions “who recognize themselves in the values of human brotherhood and social friendship, which Pope Francis speaks in his encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti.”

A retired bank executive, Sheikh Traore was also an officer of the National Order of the Republic of Ivory Coast and adviser to the Economic, Social and Cultural Council. 

More in Africa

He succeeded Sheikh Aïma Boikary Fofana who died of COVID-19-related complications in May 2020. 

In November 2019, the late Sheikh Traore hosted the secretary of the Dicastery for integral Human Development at the Vatican, Bishop Bruno-Marie Duffé and Catholic Bishops in the country for the Friday prayers. 

In his Facebook message, Fr. Abekan expresses his “deepest and sincere condolences firstly to the biological family of the deceased and secondly to the Muslim community of Ivory Coast.”

“I am aware of your pain and share in the thought of the mourning that has just struck our communities of faith,” Concluded Fr. Abekan. 

On his part, the Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, mourned the late Islamic leader saying, “It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend and brother, Sheikh Mamadou Traoré, President of COSIM and Grand Imam of the Riviera Golf Mosque.” 

Advertisement

The President added that with the death of Sheikh Traoré, the Muslim community “has lost a guide and the Ivory Coast has lost a promoter of peace and dialogue.”

“I offer my deepest condolences to his family, to the Muslim community and to all Ivorians. May his soul rest in peace,” said the Ivorian Head of State.

The late Sheikh is expected to be laid to rest on Thursday, April 15.