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Ivory Coast prelates lament attack on mosque

Catholic World News - March 07, 2011

Supporters of incumbent Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo have burned down a mosque in the southern city of Yopougon. Gbagbo, a Catholic whose base of support is in the nation’s south, lost the 2010 presidential election to Alassane Ouattara, a Muslim.

Gbagbo’s decision to cling to power has prompted a humanitarian crisis and led the nation to the brink of civil war.

Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, the apostolic nuncio, and Coadjutor Bishop Salomon Lezoutié of Yopougon condemned the attack and visited other mosques to express their sympathy. Stating that the crisis afflicting the nation is political and not religious, they urged all to respect places of worship.

17% of the nation’s 20.8 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics. An estimated 8% are Protestant, 38% are Muslim, and 33% follow indigenous religions.

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