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Muslim-Non-Muslims Relations in Congo

MIT
2/22/2017
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The sub-Saharan area in which the Democratic Republic of the Congo is located is known to have a great deal of religious diversity when compared to those areas in Northern Africa, where most of the populations are Muslim. In fact, the most widely practiced religion in the country is Christianity in its various forms. Christianity has a rather long history in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dating back to 1484, when Portuguese colonizers arrived in the country and missionaries established some high profile conversions (such as the King as well as his entourage). In 1506, King Alfonso I of Congo established relations with the Vatican, the center of Catholicism. More widespread conversion to Christianity occurred during the Belgian colonial era.

Interestingly, many Christian and Muslim followers also retain elements of traditional African religions within their respective beliefs. Islam was spread to the Congo by "Arab" traders of Swahili origin, such as Tippo Tip, drawn into the Congo from the east-coast of Africa, often as part of the Arab slave trade.[1] Although the Arabs did not expressly intend to spread religion or culture, many African peoples adopted the ideas they brought.

The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in the republic of Congo is one characterized with cordialness and friendliness. There is peaceful co-existence between adherents of the Islamic faith as minority religious representation and those of other major faiths such as the Christian faith.

The vast majority of Muslims in the country identify themselves as Sunni, following the Maliki school of jurisprudence,hence they easily assimilate into people of other faiths teaching them their faith with politeness and wisdom recognizing that as a basic requirement of their faith.

A research by Pew Foundation (an American based research organization) mentioned that the rate of Islamic growth is on the increase in the republic of Congo, which of no doubt is the outcome of the peaceful and friendly approach of Congolese Muslims to their non-Muslim neighbors, co-workers and colleagues.

However, after a flood of immigrants from neighboring Central African country occupied cities and towns of Congo, due to the violence, the Government of Congo afterwards issued a ban on wearing of full-face veils in public (Niqab) recording the only country to join France in that exercise which according to them was an attempt to “counter terrorism”. 






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