Reuters Photo from ChristianToday Article
While visiting the Central African Republic, Pope Francis went to a mosque and prayed with the Imam there, offering a message of unity and peace to Muslims, Christians, and other faiths traditional to the region.
ChristianToday wrote about the exchange, which occurred during the Pope’s visit to address recent sectarian violence in the nation.
From the article:
“My pastoral visit to the Central African Republic would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community,” he said.
“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such. We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives.”
The country was peaceful before a coup in 2013. The violence has been condemned by Christian and Muslim leaders alike, and the perpetrators seem to be only loosely connected to any established faith, seemingly motivated by more earthly interests.
The Pope finished his address by saying “salam alaikum”, a traditional Muslim greeting that is translated to “the peace be upon you”. Do you think this will have an impact for believers, Muslim or Christian, living in CAR? Do you think there will be a ripple effect of people outside of this local conflict rethinking prejudice or bias they feel towards Muslims or Christians?