Sierra Leone arrests pastor who blamed Islam for ‘every terrorist act in history’

Source: The Guardian

A Nigerian pastor has been arrested in Sierra Leone after recordings of a sermon targeting Muslims went viral on social media, sparking widespread outrage.

In an address to his congregation on Saturday, Victor Ajisafe, founder and leader of one of the country’s largest churches, called Islam a “violent religion of lies and deceit” and said Muslims have been responsible for “every terrorist act in the history of the world”. Sierra Leone’s population is roughly 78% Muslim, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center estimate.

Audio and video recordings of the sermon appeared online within three days, and were met with immediate and near-universal condemnation by both Muslim and Christian Sierra Leoneans. Ajisafe was arrested on Tuesday, but has not yet been charged.

“Everyone is very upset by his message,” said MB Kamara, head of Sierra Leone’s criminal investigations department. “We are a very religiously tolerant country and no one ever worries whether someone is Muslim or Christian. We all have lived peacefully for generations, and no one wants that disrupted.”

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