19 Jun 2009
Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Esme. I have just read - and prayed - through it.
I enjoy the plain speaking and practical thinking of those African Christians. It is notable that rather than just building a church the Christians also built a well with (so far as I can deduced) what one might call a mini-waterworks for the whole community...water of life.
It is also notable that the Muslims made their usual nonsensical claim to 'prior ownership' (of the church site, in this case)...and smashed and burned and pillaged, destroying a valuable new community resource.
For those who may not know, I will throw in some background information on Sierra Leone, from my Christian sourcebook Operation World [OW] and from the CIA factbook.
OW said (2001) that Sierra Leone was 70 % Muslim (rate of increase 4.5 %), 18 % traditional religion, and 12 % Christian (rate of increase 2.9 %); official language English with Krio (Creole) as lingua franca. In 2001 the country was viewed as having ceased to function as a viable state...is anyone surprised, given that it was 70 % Muslim?
OW also notes that "during the 20th century Islam grew from 10 % to maybe 80 % of the population" (it would be interesting to find out figures for each decade and correlate them with the level of 'instability').
CIA for 2009 is cautiously hopeful (which, in a way, chimes with the fact that the posted article shows that village Christians were organised and confident enough to gather resources and ask for help from the Church Universal, to build a church and water well):
'democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one third of the population).
'The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability [hmmm -I'd like to know whether Muslims control the military..if so I would not be very hopeful of longterm peace...dda]
"The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election...The new government's priorities include furthering development [good luck with that, when Muslim rent-a-mobs destroy village waterworks built by Christians - dda] and stamping out endemic corruption [good luck with that, in a country 70-80 % Islamised...dda]."
The CIA factbook religion breakdown differs somewhat from the OW figures - stating Muslim 60 %, Christian 10 %, animist/ traditional beliefs 30 % (this variation between OW and the CIA guesstimates may be accounted for by syncretism between traditional beliefs and both Christianity and Islam).
19 Jun 2009
John M. J.
Good post, Esme. Thanks for the highly informative background, dda - most useful.