Sustaining Religious Plurality The Burkina Faso Way


Burkina Faso’s religious tolerance has become a model for all nations to learn from.

The West African nation seems to be one of the leading nations as far as sustaining a peaceful religious plurality is involved.

Locals and even international bodies have recognized the fact that the country is one that has successfully made all kinds of religious sects welcome; a clear picture of the much preached unity in diversity concept. Little wonder why Burkina Faso has never suffered a civil war.

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The International Crisis Group in a report titled ‘Burkina Faso: Preserving the Religious Balance’ and published on Thursday says that Burkina Faso is a model of religious tolerance.

“Burkina has never suffered civil war or religious conflict. Muslims, Christians and animists are neighbors, live together and inter-marry.”

The report also says that regardless of “the rising tide of religiously motivated violence in West Africa and the Sahel” region, Burkina Faso has kept the peace in an unprecedented pace.

Nevertheless the report also points out that the West African country is experiencing an Islamist crisis just like every other part of the world at this time.

It was until the attacks that there was the presence of religious segregation in the nation. The encouraging thing in the midst of the Islamist terrors though is that the nation’s long history of deep-rooted religious tolerance is still upheld.

 “Isolated incidents of verbal aggression against Muslims were reported in the following weeks. They revealed some degree of stigmatization and reflected concerns that had not been present until then.”

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According to reports, Burkina Faso consists of 60 percent Muslims; 19 percent Catholics; 15 percent animists and 4 percent protestants.

It is very striking that Muslim’s have fewer representatives than Christians in government. The International Crisis Group warn that this could threaten Burkina Faso’s religious tolerance if left unattended.

“The resulting frustration can be dangerous. Unless the authorities start to remedy the situation, some Muslims could feel it is no longer worth talking to the government and turn to other ways of expressing themselves,” the reports warn.