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[NY TIMES] Role of Muslims during the Rwandan Genocide

According to Marc Lacey of The New York Times,”the safest place during the genocide was a Muslim neighborhood”

Read the rest of the article below:

Since ‘94 Horror, Rwandans Turn Toward Islam
Published: April 7, 2004

When 800,000 of their countrymen were killed in massacres that began 10 years ago this week, many Rwandans lost faith not only in their government but in their religion as well. Today, in what is still a predominantly Catholic country, Islam is the fastest growing religion.

Roman Catholicism has been the dominant faith in Rwanda for more than a century. But many people, disgusted by the role that some priests and nuns played in the killing frenzy, have shunned organized religion altogether, and many more have turned to Islam.

”People died in my old church, and the pastor helped the killers,” said Yakobo Djuma Nzeyimana, 21, who became a Muslim in 1996. ”I couldn’t go back and pray there. I had to find something else.”

Wearing a black prayer cap, Mr. Nzeyimana was one of nearly 2,000 worshipers at the Masdjid Al Fat’h last Friday. The crowd was so large that some Muslims set their prayer mats on the dirt outside the mosque and prayed in the midday heat.

The Muslim community now boasts so many converts that it has had to embark on a crash campaign to build new mosques to accommodate all of the faithful. About 500 mosques are scattered throughout Rwanda, about double the number that existed a decade ago.

(more…)

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