Persecution of Unitarians in Burundi

Eric Cherry and Fulgence Ndagijimana
Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana (right) and Rev. Eric Cherry, member of IARF International Council and Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s International Office.

The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, many of whose member churches are also members of the IARF – has reported on November 19 that Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, pastor of the Unitarian Church of Burundi,

was arrested from the church at gunpoint, taken into police custody and interrogated severely, regarding the activities of his church …. was threatened with physical harm and death [and] at the moment remains in custody, with other members of the church also being questioned.

The ICUU has issued an emergency statement on the situation, which you can read on its website, calling upon the government of Burundi

to immediately cease and desist the persecution of the Unitarian Church of Burundi and its members stemming from reasons of their faith. We call for the immediate release the minister of that congregation, the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, from police custody.

Joshua Eaton’s article on UU World provides interesting background information on thelocation situation in the country and the Burundi Unitarian community, as well as a more detailed account of Rev. Fulgence’s present ordeal and the efforts of the international Unitarian community and its allies to aid him.

The IARF stands in solidarity with Burundi Unitarians and the world Unitarian community in these troublesome and uncertain time, and joins in the appeal to the Burundi government to respect religious freedom and cease all unlawful actions. We are hopeful that the crisis will soon be resolved and the congregation will be allowed to continue its work and worship untroubled. To show your support you may consider joining the Standing With UU-Burundi initiative on Facebook.

Below you can watch a short video about Burundi Unitarians.

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