Understanding Muslims in Central African Republic (CAR)
| · Note: animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the “Christian” majority
Poverty in CAR
The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule – mostly by military governments – a civilian government was installed in 1993. As indicated by its name, the Central African Republic (CAR) is a country situated in the geographical center of Africa. It has a varied climate and beautiful physical features, from the tropical rain forest in the south to the sub Sahara Sahalian region in the north.
Though the CAR has numerous natural resources including diamonds, gold, uranium and wood, it still remains one of the poorest nations in the world. It suffers from being landlocked and fairly isolated in Central Africa. This has led to a significant dependency on the neighboring countries and a relatively high cost of living. Political problems and mismanagement have led to significant strikes and political tension in recent years.
Islam Investment in CAR
Current economic difficulties are proving to be a source of growth for Islam in the CAR. Already a significant number of businesses are owned by immigrant Muslim Lebanese, Arabs, Haussas, Senegalese, Malians and Chadians. Several Arab countries are openly multiplying their gifts and investments in the CAR with the goal of encouraging the proclamation of Islam. Even some very remote regions are being touched by the growing Islamic influence. Several mosques have been built in recent years and others are planned. Many students have received instruction and training in the Islamic universities in Sudan and Saudi Arabia. Islamic schools have been built in the CAR including a technical and scientific high school which has just recently been completed.
The Rungas, a Muslim tribe that lives in Northern Central Africa and that also flows into Chad (pop: 37,000) are practically unreached and are very isolated from Christians. The CAR also has an immigrant Arab population that remains largely untouched by the gospel. That is to only name a few. Despite the advances which Islam has made in the CAR in recent years God has also been at work. Recently an influential Muslim Fulani, who had even made two pilgrimages to Mecca, turned to Christ and has maintained his Christian testimony against significant pressures. It is significant to note that his conversion happened during the month of Ramadan.
Prayer Guide for CAR:
* Thank God for the relative peace which is enduring in the country despite various social and economic tensions. Pray that this would continue.
* Pray that Christians would have prosperity in business while remaining faithful to the Lord. Many people are attracted to Islam through the relative prosperity of the Muslims (Proverbs 13:7).
* Pray for training programs to be established so that Christians would know how to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims (Romans 10:15).
Posted on Mon, July 29, 2013
by Donna Shiflett