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In tragic twist, Anti-Balaka Christian terror groups attack African Muslims

Written By | Feb 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, February 20, 2014 – In what Amnesty International is calling “ethnic cleansing,” Christian terror groups called the anti-balaka are targeting and attacking Muslims in the country of the Central African Republic. The terror groups also attacked a Muslim refugee camp established to house innocents fleeing from the violence.

Last week, The Guardian reported “Thousands of Muslims tried to flee the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) on Friday, only for their mass convoy of cars and trucks to be turned back as crowds of angry Christians taunted: ‘We’re going to kill you all.’”

Time Magazine says:

“An Amnesty International report on Feb. 12 said attacks on Muslims in January by anti-balaka militias, made up of Christians and animists, had amounted to ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, has already opened a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity, saying some ‘victims appeared to have been deliberately targeted on religious grounds.’ A top U.N. official issued similar warnings during a recent visit to the ravaged capital, Bangui, telling reporters: ‘There is an ethnic-religious cleansing taking place. It must be stopped.’”

Of course, many Christians have taken offense to the Anti-Balaka groups adopting the name of their religion to wage violence. The Washington Post reports that Roman Catholic “Churches in Central African Republic are caring for thousands of Muslims.” These groups have even gone to the extent of housing Muslim within churches to protect them from the growing cycle of violence. The churches are providing shelter, food, water and medicine.

The conflict began last year, when the extremist Seleka Muslim rebels seized power over the government and targeted Christian groups. The Anti-Balaka terror groups, comprising mostly of Christians, organized as a response to the Selekan Muslim rebels, and have expanded attacks to civilians.

The United Nations has confirmed that the Anti-Balaka are targeting ethnic Muslim neighborhoods, causing more than 10,000 civilians to flee.

Thousands of peacekeepers have been deployed by the United Nations and several European countries, yet experts do not see an end to the conflict.

Despite the peacekeepers already deployed, local media in the Central African Republic, Branden Herald reports “The U.N. humanitarian chief on Thursday said that more troops are needed on the ground in volatile Central African Republic, where Muslims have been slain in the streets of the capital despite the presence of thousands of French and African peacekeepers.”

The aptly named country is located directly in the center of Africa, and is landlocked by bordering countries Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, and Cameron.

Rahat Husain

Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues. In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.