Rwandans Embracing Islam

Mass Conversions to Islam in Rawanda: [A non-Muslim expresses Concerns]
Jihad Is Taught as 'Struggle to Heal’
By Emily Wax [Excerpted.]

Washington Foreign Post Service

RUHENGERI, Rwanda – The villagers with their forest green head wraps and forest green Korans arrived at the mosque on a rainy Sunday afternoon for a lecture for new converts. There was one main topic: jihad.

They found their seats and flipped to the right page. Hands flew in the air. People read passages aloud. And the word jihad – holy struggle – echoed again and again through the dark, leaky room.

Many Rwandans are converting to Islam after Muslims hid them during the genocide. (Emily Wax - The Washington Post)

April 6, 1994, the first day of the state-sponsored genocide in which ethnic Hutu extremists killed 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates.

“We have our own jihad, and that is our war against ignorance between Hutu and Tutsi. It is our struggle to heal,” said Saleh Habimana, the head mufti of Rwanda . “Our jihad is to start respecting each other and living as Rwandans and as Muslims.”

Since the genocide, Rwandans have converted to Islam in huge numbers. Muslims now make up 14 percent of the 8.2 million people here in Africa 's most Catholic nation, twice as many as before the killings began.

Many converts say they chose Islam because of the role that some Catholic and Protestant leaders played in the genocide. Human rights groups have documented several incidents in which Christian clerics allowed Tutsis to seek refuge in churches, then surrendered them to Hutu death squads, as well as instances of Hutu priests and ministers encouraging their congregations to kill Tutsis. Today some churches serve as memorials to the many people slaughtered among their pews.

Four clergymen are facing genocide charges at the U.N.-created International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda , and last year in Belgium , the former colonial power, two Rwandan nuns were convicted of murder for their roles in the massacre of 7,000 Tutsis who sought protection at a Benedictine convent.

In contrast, many Muslim leaders and families are being honored for protecting and hiding those who were fleeing.

“I know people in America think Muslims are terrorists, but for Rwandans they were our freedom fighters during the genocide,” said Jean Pierre Sagahutu, 37, a Tutsi who converted to Islam from Catholicism after his father and nine other members of his family were slaughtered. “I wanted to hide in a church, but that was the worst place to go. Instead, a Muslim family took me. They saved my life.”

Sagahutu said his father had worked at a hospital where he was friendly with a Muslim family. They took Sagahutu in, even though they were Hutus. “I watched them pray five times a day. I ate with them and I saw how they lived,” he said. “When they pray, Hutu and Tutsi are in the same mosque. There is no difference… I needed to see that.”

Islam has long been a religion of the downtrodden. In the Middle East and South Asia , the religion has had a strong focus on outreach to the poor and tackling social ills by banning alcohol and encouraging sexual modesty. In the United States , Malcolm X used a form of Islam to encourage economic and racial empowerment among blacks.

Muslim leaders say they have a natural constituency in Rwanda , where AIDS and poverty have replaced genocide as the most daunting problems. “Islam fits into the fabric of our society. It helps those who are in poverty. It preaches against behaviors that create AIDS. It offers education in the Koran and Arabic when there is not a lot of education being offered,” said Habimana, the chief mufti. “I think people can relate to Islam. They are converting as a sign of appreciation to the Muslim community who sheltered them during the genocide.”

While Western governments worry that the growth of Islam carries with it the danger of militancy, there are few signs of militant Islam in Rwanda . Nevertheless, some government officials quietly express concern that some of the mosques receive funding from Saudi Arabia , whose dominant Wahhabi sect has been embraced by militant groups in other parts of the world. They also worry that high poverty rates and a traumatized population make Rwanda the perfect breeding ground for Islamic extremism.

But Nish Imiyimana, an imam here in Ruhengeri, about 45 miles northwest of Kigali , the capital, contends: “We have enough of our own problems. We don’t want a bomb dropped on us by America . We want American NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] to come and build us hospitals instead.”

“The Catholic church has a problem after genocide,” said the Rev. Jean Bosco Ntagugire, who works at Kigali churches. “The trust has been broken. We can’t say, ‘Christians come back.’ We have to hope that happens when faith builds again.”

To help make that happen, the Catholic church has started to offer youth sports programs and camping trips, Ntagugire said. But Muslims are also reaching out, even forming women’s groups that provide classes on child care and being a mother…

At a recent class here, hundreds of women dressed in red, orange and purple head coverings gathered in a dark clay building. They talked about their personal struggle, or jihad, to raise their children well. And afterward, during a lunch of beans and chicken legs, they ate heartily and shared stories about how Muslims saved them during the genocide.

“If it weren’t for the Muslims, my whole family would be dead,” said Aisha Uwimbabazi, 27, a convert and mother of two children. “I was very, very thankful for Muslim people during the genocide. I thought about it and I really felt it was right to change.”

[Editor of New Trend says: We condemn the use of words like “wahhabi.” There is no such sect. Also, the numbers of those killed in Rwanda are grossly exaggerated by the U.S. media for Zionist purposes. It was bad but not like what they say.]

Since the genocide, Rwandans have converted to Islam in huge numbers.<<

Think there might be a connection?

People are likely to do anything when there’s a gun to their heads.

Is there?

soooooo, why exactly are you on a catholic forums website with propaganda for Islam and promoting the religion yourself??? If you like it so much then go to your own site…:shrug:

I’ve been here longer than you have. Maybe I can point out a small detail, that this section of the forum is called “Non-Catholic Religions.”

I simply posted an article I thought people would find interesting about Islam, and about Africa. Did you not find it interesting?

Maybe if you didn’t, it’s because you’re not interested in Rwanda, or you’re not interested in Islam. If you’re not interested in any religion other than Catholicism… maybe this isn’t the right section of the forum for you. :shrug:

The Rwanda genocide was a very dark history for the tragic country. By some estimate more than 25% of the entire population was wiped out in a cruel killing spree that caused untold sorrow and pain to those who were left behind. It’s sad that it should happen.

The population is predominantly Chritsians. When people had gone through such terrible harrowing experience it is not surprising they will look elsewhere for comfort and peace and new life. Islam is relatively new to this country and for some of them it could be the answer to their pain.

Why do you think this site is not her site? It belongs to Catholic Answers, but they welcome everyone… its not just for Catholics.

This particular forum is for discussing non-Catholic religions. That is what Sister Amy is doing.

Oh, and here is the original link to the news story:

I see the article was published in 2002. I wonder what changes have occurred since then? According to a 2006 report from the Rwandan government, 4.6 of Rwandans are Muslim.

In the name of Allah , Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I read in other site that some Churches were involved in the killing. Is that true ? What was the reason ?

Funny how just the other day I read that 1 million Africans converted to the Catholic faith each year. There are more bishops and priests that are becoming extremely high in Africa than in the United States and anywhere else, so I beg to differ.

Lots of numbers get thrown around as to whether Islam or Christianity is winning the battle for souls in Africa. I’m not really sure whose numbers to trust, but apparently there is a trend to merge the two religions:

This group - originally called “Chris-lam-herb” for its mix-and-match approach to Christianity, Islam, and traditional medicine - is a window on an ongoing religious ferment in Africa. It’s still up for debate whether this group, and others like it, could become models for Muslim-Christian unity worldwide or whether they’re uniquely African. But either way, they are “part of a trend,” says Dana Robert, a Boston University religion professor.

Amid intense sectarian violence in this half- Muslim, half-Christian country, these groups serve as tolerant peacemakers. Also, with widespread poverty and health concerns here, people are seeking practical, profitable religion more than rigid doctrine.

The broader context here is Africa’s dramatic shift in recent decades to Christianity and Islam. During the 20th century, fully 40 percent of Africa’s population moved from traditional religions to “different shades of Christianity,” says Philip Jenkins, a history and religion professor at the University of Pennsylvania. It is, he adds, “the largest religious change that has ever occurred in history.” There are debates about whether Christianity or Islam is spreading faster in Africa, but clearly they’re both on the rise - and sometimes are the source of tension.

Clearly, the religious revolution is still shaking out. “People are converting rapidly, but they don’t necessarily have instruction” in the details of their faiths, says Boston University’s Professor Robert. Nor have they had “time for their belief system to solidify.” It is, she says, “still shifting.” She argues that eventually the faithful will choose one religion or another, and the hybrids will fade away

Thanks for finding a link on that! I was wondering when the article was published, I was under the impression is was more recent.

I am not aware of entire churches participating in the killing. A handful of notorious cases are known of religious professionals assisting in the genocide, mainly by betraying refugees.

As to why they did so… I don’t know. Perhaps their hatred of the Tutsis momentarily outweighed their love for God. :shrug:

I believe that there was some participation by somenative Catholic priests, as well as clergy from several protestant denominations. See generally In answer to Muslim Woman’s question regarding Church involvement in the genocide: The Church was not involved in the genocide, as such actions are unquestionably in violation of numerous Church teachings. However, individual Church members were involved in some of the killing, in clear violation of the Church teachings.

**Whatever be the number of conversions to Islam in Rawanda, if they are shouting Jihad with weapons to cure their ills, they will fail. In Islam, there is not to be any holy war now with any weapons other than the pen (or the keyboard). period

Those who are teaching Jihaad to the newly convert rawandan Muslimks are the enemies of those Rawandans. i.e. Teaching them bad Islam.


I would have answered this post if the poster had not been too opportunistic.

Well, for your information, your source is as good as mine.

Numbers only get thrown around when you don’t know what to say. It is a fact that 1 million convert to the one true faith of Christ each year.

2 million ethnic Muslims adopted baptism in Russia while only 2,5 thousand Russians converted to Islam - expert :smiley:

Moscow, November 1, Interfax - The number of ethnic Muslims in Russia who adopted Christianity is 2 million, while the number of the Orthodox who have been converted to Islam is only 2,5 thousand, stated Roman Silantyev, executive secretary of the Inter-religious Council in Russia.

‘Christianization happens not so much as a result of some purposeful missionary activity (in which only Protestants are engaged) as under the influence of Russian culture which has express Christian roots’, Silantyev said in a interview published this week by the Itogi weekly.

According Silantyev, the converts are predominantly Muslims by birth, while ‘those who really confess Islamic values and attend mosque on a regular basis rarely change their faith’.

‘The assimilation of ethnic and religious minorities is an inevitable process in any society. In Russia it is accelerated due to extremist activities’, the Islamic researcher believes.

For instance, he says, as a result of what happened in Beslan, the proportion of Muslims in North Ossetia has decreased at least by 30%, while in Beslan itself, where Muslims had comprised from 30 to 40% of the population, their number has decreased at least by half.

‘As even Muslim sources confirm, after each terrorist action, thousands and may be even dozens of thousands of ethnic Muslims adopt baptism’, Silantyev stated.

At the same time, the expert accounts for the small number of ethnic Orthodox people who have adopted Islam for the last 15 years, among other things, by the fact that ‘for some reason Russians seem to be more willing to join sects than Islam’.

**We left Islam - Who we are: **

We are ex-Muslims. Some of us were born and raised in Islam and some of us had converted to Islam at some moment in our lives. We were taught never to question the truth of Islam and to believe in Allah and his messenger with blind faith.

We were told that Allah would forgive all sins but the sin of disbelief (Quran 4:48 and 4:116).

But we committed the ultimate sin of thinking and questioned the belief that was imposed on us and we came to realize that far from being a religion of truth, Islam is a hoax, it is hallucination of a sick mind and nothing but lies and deceits.

**What we believe: **

Some of us have embraced other religions but most of us have simply left Islam without believing in any other religion. We believe in humanity. We believe that humans do not need to follow a religion to be good. All we need to follow is the Golden Rule.

All we have to do is to treat others the way we expect to be treated. This is the essence of all the goodness. All good religious teachings stem from this eternal principle. This is the ultimate guidance humanity need. This is the Golden Rule.

Why Mohammed was not a prophet:

One who claims to be a messenger of God is expected to live a saintly life. He must not be given to lust, he must not be a sexual pervert, and he must not be a rapist, a highway robber, a war criminal, a mass murderer or an assassin.

One who claims to be a messenger of God must have a superior character. He must stand above the vices of the people of his time. Yet Muhammad’s life is that of a gangster godfather.

He raided merchant caravans, looted innocent people, massacred entire male populations and enslaved the women and children. He raped the women captured in war after killing their husbands and told his followers that it is okay to have sex with their captives and their “right hand possessions” (Quran 33:50)

He assassinated those who criticized him and executed them when he came to power and became de facto despot of Arabia. Muhammad was bereft of human compassion. He was an obsessed man with his dreams of grandiosity and could not forgive those who stood in his way. Muhammad was a narcissist like Hitler, Saddam or Stalin.

He was astute and knew how to manipulate people, but his emotional intelligence was less evolved than that of a 6-year-old child. He simply could not feel the pain of others. He brutally massacred thousands of innocent people and pillaged their wealth.

His ambitions were big and as a narcissist he honestly believed he is entitled to do as he pleased and commit all sorts of crimes and his evil deeds are justified.

Why Quran is not from God:

Muhammad produced no miracles and when pressed he claimed that his miracle is the Quran. Yet a cursory look at the Quran reveals that this book is full of errors.

Quran is replete with scientific heresies, historic blunders, mathematical mistakes, logical absurdities, grammatical errors and ethical fallacies. It is badly compiled and it contradicts itself.

There is nothing intelligent in this book let alone miraculous. Muhammad challenged people to produce a “Surah like it” or find an error therein, yet Muslims would kill anyone who dares to criticize it. In such a climate of hypocrisy and violence truth is the first casualty.

Tell it to the Taliban, Al Quaeda, Somali pirates, et al.

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