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Imam and Cardinal seek peace in the midst of religious conflict in Central African Republic

Catholic Cardinal, Dieudonné Nzapalainga, and Muslim Imam, Oumar Kobine Layama, traveled around the Central African Republic trying to re-establish peace between Christians and Muslims.

Their work is recounted in the film, Sìrìrì: the Cardinal and the Imam, produced by Beauvoir Films Geneva. Director, Manuel von Sturler, says the film helps build awareness regarding the situation in the Central African Republic—one he says is often overlooked.

Director and Narrator

It's not talked about very much. It's very poorly documented. There is very little reporting on this conflict. There are other priorities for the media like the Middle East and now, obviously Ukraine. So it's kind of forgotten. So there is this dimension for me which is important to tell what is happening in this country.

Despite Christians making up 75% of the population, churches have been attacked, people have been kidnapped and killed, and many have had to move to camps for internally displaced people. In the 2018 Bangui church shooting, at least 24 people were killed and over 100 injured.

The Director says he made this movie after seeing how people often don’t communicate with each other, especially when they have different views. He believes the Cardinal and the Imam are an example of the contrary.

Director and Narrator

I wanted to make a film about this subject, to listen, to learn or to see how we can make universal humanity, no matter our beliefs. And that's why I found that the commitment of these two religious leaders was an example and an inspiration for me.

Imam Layama passed away in 2020. Together with Cardinal Nzapalinga, this film serves as a reminder that their work of dialogue is still ongoing.