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Religious Leaders in Mauritius Saddened by Persecution of Minorities in Africa, World

Logo of the Council of Religions (CoR) in Mauritius. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The persecution of religious minorities in Africa and the world is a cause for concern for religious leaders in the Indian Ocean Island nation of Mauritius who are calling for togetherness.

In a statement issued Friday, October 22, members of the Council of Religions (CoR) in Mauritius say they are “deeply saddened by the continued persecution of religious minorities, whether in Africa, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Iran or elsewhere in the world.”

“We may not have great natural resources in Mauritius, but we have a unique wealth of religious traditions, characterized by this 'Living Together' that God has given us,” the leaders say in their statement obtained by ACI Africa.

This “living together”, they note, is “an exemplary cohabitation of different beliefs in the plural construction of the Mauritian nation.”  

“We must take great care to preserve it and bequeath it to future generations and beyond our borders,” members of the Council of Religions in Mauritius say, underscoring the need for peaceful co-existence across the globe. 

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According to the Religious Freedom in the World Report (RFR) 2021, several countries in Africa are among nations of the world experiencing “the most intense” violations of religious freedom.

In the report published April 20 by the Catholic pastoral charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, 23 of Africa’s 54 countries are among 62 countries with most cases of religious persecutions across the globe.

Of the 23 countries in the world’s second largest continent, 12 are listed as nations with “extreme persecution” characterized by “intense violations of religious freedom”; the other 11 are in the category of “severe cases of violation” of religious freedom.

At number three, the West African nation of Burkina Faso leads the list of African countries with extreme violation of religious freedom caused by Islamic extremism.

Burkina Faso is closely followed by the Central African nation of Cameroon at position four on the RFR listing, making it the country with the second-highest extreme religious persecutions in Africa.

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According to the report released in Rome and other 22 cities globally, the cause of religious freedom in Cameroon, which is predominantly Christian, is Islamic extremism.

In their October 22 statement, the religious leaders in the Indian Ocean Island nation say, “The establishment of the Mauritius Council of Religions represents one of the important milestones in this process of 'Living Together.'”

“We can only be a humble example to the world in respecting the fundamental right of religious freedom,” officials of CoR say, and add, “Religion teaches love and tolerance towards the other and not hate and violence.” 

“We ourselves have a long way to go to learn about the other, to nurture this learning about inter-religiousness in all its forms in Mauritian society, so that the light of the unity of mankind can always shine in each of us,” members of CoR say in their statement issued October 22.

They implore, “We therefore beg God the Almighty in our prayers that governments and people all over the world may work in the same direction.”

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The Council of Religions in Mauritius was officially founded in 2001 following a call from the United Nations for religious leaders in each country to work together to promote peace.

The faith-based entity that is currently headed by Fr. Philippe Goupille of Mauritius’ Catholic Diocese of Port-Louis brings together Christian, the Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam to promote harmony and to engage in peace-building activities among the people in the Indian Ocean Island nation.