Section IV. U.S. Government Policy and Engagement
The U.S. embassy discussed with government officials the effect of a violent, sociopolitical crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions on freedom of worship. The embassy also discussed the inability of religious bodies to receive official authorizations and the importance of interfaith dialogue with government officials, including regional delegations from the Ministry of Social Affairs and the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms.
Embassy officers met with leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities, including the coordinator of the Association for Interreligious Dialogue; the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon; the Catholic Archbishop of Douala, who was president of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of the Central African Region; and the Anglican Bishop of Cameroon. The conversations focused on preventing violent extremism related to religion and promoting freedom of worship, interreligious dialogue, religious diversity, and peacebuilding. The embassy underscored the commitment of the United States to interfaith dialogue and cooperation in the face of threats by Boko Haram and ISIS/WA.
The embassy, as part of its work to counter violent extremism in the Far North, engaged 160 female religious leaders in a workshop to address interreligious conflict. The workshop sought to reinforce interreligious exchanges, raise awareness on violent extremism related to religion, and develop an action plan to counter violent extremism at the community level. Women leaders from many denominations committed to work together without the distinction of religion to fight against violent extremism related to religion and its underlying social factors. The U.S. government also funded in-depth academic training on countering violent extremism related to religion for members of ACADIR.
On October 26, the embassy organized an interactive workshop that involved civil society and diverse faith-based organizations, including organizations sponsored by Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims. Participants brainstormed on the concepts of tolerance and peaceful coexistence and explored the government’s role in fostering religious freedom and the acceptance of religious diversity.