Together for dialogue

Perspective: Burkina Faso

Testimony of Fabé Traoré’s relations with Muslims

Born in a Muslim family in Samogohiri, I was a practicing Muslim before my conversion. Today I am a servant of God, commonly called a pastor and in charge of the local Mennonite church of Samogohiri, my birth place. I have also been a Bible translator since before I became a pastor.

My journey with Islam

My legal name is Fabé Traoré and my given name Fabé means, “my father became a father while his father was living.” This is simply to say that I knew my grandfather, who was animist, and my father was Muslim.

Given my relationship with my grandfather, I knew a lot about animism or ancestral religion even though my father had chosen to enroll me in a Koranic school. This was before my uncle came to take me out and enroll me in a French classical school at the age of seven. By enrolling me in a Koranic school, my father’s choice and desire was to see me serve God as a great teacher of the Koran.

But God decided otherwise through my uncle’s choice to enroll me in a French classical school. Didn’t Jeremiah say that he had been chosen while he was still in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5)?

After a number of years of schooling, I completed my studies with a degree in theology at the former Abidjan Faculty of Theology of the Christian Alliance (FATEAC), known today as the Abidjan University of the Christian Alliance (UACA).

A bridge

The Apostle Paul says that, “all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

My journey with Islam was neither accidental nor in vain. For me, it was a way for God to prepare me to serve him not only as a converted Muslim, but to serve as a bridge through my testimony between Muslims and those who have never been Muslim.

In short, throughout all of these years of serving the Lord in Samogohiri, following the example of other members of the church in Samogohiri, I experienced my share of trials starting with the persecution of my own father after the conversion of my mother. However, the Lord, through the gift of his wisdom, helped me to criss-cross these mazes all the way to the exit. One of the greatest trials not to be forgotten was the struggle initiated by the great Imam of Samogohiri after the conversion of his own son.

The tactful management of this situation along with the involvement of the local administration allowed for a favorable outcome. Following this affair, the Imam attacked the church of Samogohiri to such an extent that some Muslims recognized the pacifism of the church thanks to how the situation was handled.

Celebrations and collaboration

To conclude, I would say that after all of these years of perseverance and patience, relations between Christians and Muslims are becoming more and more peaceful. Opportunities such as celebrations and collaboration prove this to be true.

Yes to collaboration, because today I am with the Imam and the village chief in a structure that is working for peace and social harmony in the area. The structure is called, “Together for dialogue.” Each time that tension arises, regardless of the nature of the tension, we are called to search for a peaceful solution.

Fabé Traoré is an MWC General Council member representative for the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso.

This article first appeared in Courier/Correo/Courrier April 2021.
Este artículo apareció por primera vez en Correo en abril de 2021.
Cet article est paru pour la première fois dans le numéro d’avril 2021 de Courier/Correo/Courrier.

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