The picture above is a collective picture between the Rwandan Minister of Education and a group of former ministers, deputies, businessmen and intellectuals from 10 countries around the world to study the Rwandan experience in the field of national reconciliation and how best to advance the collapsed nations. The humble minister presented a fascinating lecture that lasted more than two full hours, during which he talked about two important points:
- The story of Islam in Rwanda
- The Rwandan Experience of Renaissance and Progress.
The story of Islam in Rwanda
The minister spoke of Islam and the date of his entry into Rwanda with meaningful and influential words. He said that Islam entered Rwanda in the 19th century (the adviser of the President and the Mufti of the Republic specifically stated that Islam entered Rwanda in 1894 AD and is the oldest religion in this country) with a group of merchants of different nationalities Including Somalis who were accompanying the German Expeditionary Mission, which had entered Rwanda at that time, to establish a German kingdom in Africa.
Twenty-five years ago, Islam was strange and was not recognized and recognized by the people and the successive governments that ruled Rwanda since its independence. Prior to the abhorrent massacre of 1994, the former Mufti of the country issued a resolution addressed to the Rwandan people in general and Muslims in particular that the killing is forbidden (Haram) according to Islamic law and cannot kill a brother of his brother in humanity and the nation, whatever the circumstances.
By gaining this bold and dangerous position at the same time, the Muslims gained great fame and the people began to wonder what this tolerant religion is? As a result, persecuted Tutsis fled to the mosques during the genocide. Those who fled to the churches were collectively executed, while those who sought refuge in mosques were not harmed. Glory be to Allah!
After the liberation of the country by the current National Front of the President (Paul Kagame), the President called on the Muslim leaders of the country and thanked them for their honorable position and said his famous word: “Those who exhorted blood and exterminated people were infidels; Go and spread Islam in Rwandan homes and in the streets and save them from ignorance and darkness ”
After these words of encouragement and influence, the Rwandans began to enter Islam in a number of groups, and the proportion of Muslims rose from 2.5% to about 15-25% at the present time and Muslims are now influential in the country as they have a minister, MPs in the parliament, generals in the army and officials In all sectors of the State.
Rwandan experience in national reconciliation
Rwanda was a kingdom ruled by kings, and was a united and tolerant nation until the Belgian colonialism came, which was the main reason for the division of the Rwandans and their division into tribes in order to divide and break up. From that point on, the civil war began in 1959, when the war periodically looked to the genocide and the horrific events of 1994 that killed over a million people in 90 days.
After these horrific massacres, the Rwandans stopped a bit and wondered why some of us were killing each other. Is there any justification for killing one million people? After deep reflection and debate, they concluded that there was no good justification for fighting and decided to go all out to national reconciliation.The Rwandans have been remarkably successful in bringing about genuine national reconciliation and reunification, which in turn has made Rwanda a battered country burdened with civil wars, Africa’s second largest and most prosperous economy.
Hence, it is possible to ask how this reconciliation succeeded and what are the foundations on which it was based? Rwandan reconciliation succeeded and became a model for the world because of its reliance on the following four policies and steps:
- A rational leadership has a strategic vision and offers the interests of the people and the country to other narrow interests
- Pardon, tolerance and non-retaliation despite the ability to do so
- Achieving social justice among the components of the entire population
- Create a strong national feeling that prevents tribal and regional conflicts.
After this unique Rwandan experience, can Somalia take lessons and real national reconciliation that will save the country from war to peace and stability? This is what the Somali elites must answer with their various components and orientations. Masoud and Helia, a participant in the Global Forum to Explore Opportunities in Rwanda