Manchester bombing, London Bridge knife attacks, Marawi takeover by gunmen, Baghdad suicide bombings, Afghanistan suicide vehicle, Egypt bombing.
These are lawless acts committed by criminals who murdered more than 100 innocent lives. All done in the holy month of RAMADHAN.
These dramatic acts seized the world news headlines in part because the violent perpetrators so happened to be Muslims.
BUT REALLY, RATIONALLY, REALISTICALLY – WHY SHOULD RELIGION EVEN BE BLAMED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Let’s turn the clock back to year 1994, starting April 6th, for 100 days.
IT’S TIME TO REVISIT THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE
RWANDA is an east-central African state surrounded by Zaire, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
RWANDA’s population was at 7.3 million people as at April 1994. Racially comprising of Hutu 85 %, Tutsi 14 % and Twa 1%.
In 1994, RWANDA’s official religion of the populace was Roman Catholic 57 %, Protestant 26 %, Seventh-day Adventist 11 % and Muslim 4.6 %.
The RWANDAN bloodbath claimed as many as 800,000 lives. Some say it was instigated by racist and extreme elements within their own RWANDAN government and military.
Innocent victims were murdered in the 100 days of orchestrated violence. Rape survivors were infected with AIDS.
300,000 more became refugees.
Their perpetrators’ weapons of choice – clubs, knives and machetes. You don’t really need guns to kill.
Almost two thirds of the Tutsis population were decimated and ethnically cleansed.
If Moderate Hutus spoke against the genocide, they were similarly eliminated.
If Moderate Hutus were discovered hiding or helping Tutsis, they too were not spared.
If Moderate Hutus refused to participate in the violence and gang rapes, they were also killed by the para-military force of Hutu extremists.
Frightening!!! It was the Moderate Hutus (the ordinary people) who were stirred up – or instigated – or forced – to be part of the gigantic killing-machine and rape-machine.
The United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for RWANDA (ICTR) to prosecute persons responsible for the genocide committed in RWANDA.
The ICTR opened in 1995 and had indicted 93 individuals responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in RWANDA in 1994.
The offenders included high-ranking RWANDAN government and military officials, politicians and businessmen.
Also indicted were religious leaders, militia leaders, radio station operators and media owners.
But the horrors and the dread of darkness that descended on RWANDA will never be forgotten or never ever to be erased.
IS CHRISTIANITY TO BE PARTLY BLAMED FOR THE RWANDA GENOCIDE?
At the ICTR, witnesses say there were church leaders who resisted the killings at the risk of their own lives.
At the same time, there were also some church leaders who participated or supported the killings of the Tutsis.
HOW COULD IT EVEN BE COMPREHENSIBLE THAT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE PROTESTANT CHURCH LEADERS HAD BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS?
Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka (born 1958) was found guilty of rape and genocide. A military tribunal in RWANDA sentenced him in absentia to life in prison.
At the Holy Family Cathedral where he was the head priest, he herded his own congregation of adult Tutsis and children to the death squads, which brutally slaughtered them.
Father Athanase Seromba (born 1963) was charged with the deaths of around 2,000 Tutsis who took refuge in his parish church.
He ordered his church to be bulldozed (with the refugees inside) on April 6 1994, and then shot some survivors.
WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR THE HOLY SEE TO APOLOGIZE?
The Vatican maintained that the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH bore no institutional responsibility – although her priests had committed terrible crimes.
Only recently in March 2017, Pope Francis asked forgiveness from RWANDAN President Paul Kagame – for the surreptitious role played by CATHOLIC priests during the RWANDAN genocide.
The Pope’s ‘apology’ took almost 23 years since 1994. However, the RWANDAN government felt that it didn’t go far enough.
A considerable number of the faithful had already left the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH in RWANDA.
It was an open secret that a CATHOLIC network helped implicated priests and nuns to escape to Europe and evade justice.
Father Munyeshyaka took charge of a CATHOLIC church in Gisors, France. While Father Seromba changed his name and became a parish priest in Florence, Italy.
WHAT LESSONS HAVE WE LEARNT?
The violence, murders, rapes and plunder by lawless groups do not represent any religion.
These are common criminals who have succumbed to hatred and evil degeneration in their hearts.
Today, the world is experiencing waves of violence and terror attacks against innocent civilians.
But we can win this ideological war against the terrorists who at times hide behind a religious facade.
The war against terror is definitely not a war against any religion especially ISLAM.
CALL TO ACTION
The RWANDAN massacre averaged 8,000 deaths every day for 100 days. Totaling an estimated 800,000 murdered souls.
In comparison, the September 11 terrorist attacks had a death toll of almost 2,996 human lives and injured 6,000 others.
Let’s stop identifying terrorism by the religion of its terrorists. Though they may be Muslims or of any other religion.
But this doesn’t mean that the world will compromise its commitment to bring the violent terrorists to justice.
Let us join our hands – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – to uproot this ideology of hatred.
CHRISTIANITY IS A RELIGION OF PEACE.
ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE.