Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, has made a plea for peace at a meeting organised by “Religions for Peace.”
The peace event, held in New York, United States, was aimed, in particular, at understanding how religions can be the foundation for constructing world peace and how they can contribute to global reconciliation.
“Cooperation at the national level, first among religious institutions themselves and then between religions and state institutions, is an essential requisite for true and lasting peace in all countries and throughout the world,” highlighted Cardinal Ouédraogo.
The Cardinal also expressed appreciation for the commitment of “Religions for Peace” in promoting conditions through which people “in their diversity of identity, faith and culture, can live in harmony and freedom, far from any discrimination and persecution,” he said.
The Cardinal urged Religions for Peace to encourage the formation of “structures in favour of interreligious dialogue” in every country of the world.
Cardinal Ouéadrogo’s message was particularly poignant given recent and increased attacks by Jihadist groups wreaking havoc in his country and those of Africa’s Sahel region.
Groups such as Ansarul Islam or Jama’at Nusrat Al-Islam Wa Al-Muslimeen whose acronym, JNIM, means, “The group for the support of Islam And Muslims” -an umbrella coalition of al-Qaeda-aligned fighters have unleashed conflicts and violence in Burkina Faso and the Sahel region. The most recent attack took place on 1 December in Foutouri, Burkina Faso.
Jihadist attackers struck as members of a Protestant Church were gathered for the Sunday Service. Fourteen people were killed, including some children.
A previous attack on 7 November saw 37 people killed, in Burkina Faso, while 60 were wounded in an attack on a mining company convoy. The incident happened about 40km from the eastern town of Boungou.
Pope Francis Speaking during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, on 13 November, made a powerful appeal to Burkinabe authorities to protect vulnerable civilians and step up their efforts to find a solution to the violence.
“I encourage civil and religious authorities and all those motivated by goodwill to multiply their efforts, in the spirit of the Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity, to promote interreligious dialogue and harmony,” the Pope said.