Religious Leaders from C. African Republic Seeking Support for Peace on U.S. Visit

March 14, 2014 by

Members of the Religious Leaders Platform meeting with Congress, Administration and other policy leaders in Washington and New York

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2014 — A multi-faith delegation of religious leaders from the Central African Republic (CAR) is visiting the United States to seek support for efforts to bring peace to their war-torn country.

The delegation, known as the Religious Leaders Platform, is made up of the Catholic Archbishop Dieudonnée Nzapalainga, the Archbishop of Bangui and President of the Central African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, President of the Islamic Community, and Rev. Nicolas Guérékoyamé Gbangou, Leader of the Evangelical Coalition.

“While the violence in CAR is often depicted as simply Christians against Muslims, this group shows that there are many in all faiths working for peace,” says Bill O’Keefe, the Vice President of Advocacy for Catholic Relief Services. “These three leaders have risked their lives to bring their message of peace to various parts of their country. They have a great story to tell.”

The delegation’s visit is sponsored by a coalition of organizations, including CRS, that are working to bring peace to CAR.

The group will meet with meet with representatives of the Administration and Congress during their time in Washington from March 17 to 19.

On Tuesday, March 18, the religious leaders will participate in a public event at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, from 9:30-11 am. Media are invited.

Violence in CAR started in March, 2013 when rebel forces from Muslim regions of CAR and neighboring Muslim countries overran the government in the capital Bangui.  When those fighters, unpaid, resorted to undisciplined rampages, predominately Christian communities relied on self-defense forces and the fighting took on its religious aspect.

CRS and the USCCB have called for continued increases in peacekeeping efforts to restore security along with robust humanitarian aid to help the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who have been forced from their homes by the violence.

To arrange an interview with the members of the Religious Leaders Platform, contact Kim Pozniak at Catholic Relief Services: 410-951-7281;

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