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Love Conquers Burkina Faso’s Divide

Inoussa Bouda a 45-year-old entrepreneur, a Muslim, and his wife Alida, a Christian, are an interfaith couple, which according to Burkina Faso’s census, make up approximately 10.4 percent of all married couples in the country. Their three children all have a Christian and a Muslim first name and attend both mosque and church with their parents. Although Burkina Faso is a Muslim-majority country (61.5 percent), its ruling class is largely Christian, which has led to a sense of disenfranchisement among some Muslims. But the West African country has historically been a bastion of religious and ethnic tolerance in the region. Interfaith marriages are relatively common and it is unusual for extended families not to include followers of both Islam and Christianity. In the face of rising religious and ethnic tensions, some religious leaders are helping to uphold Burkina Faso’s values of multiculturalism and tolerance by supporting interfaith couples such as the Boudas.