Are the Christians in Chad obliged to swear by the name of Allah?
The new Constitution of the Republic of Chad would oblige Christians to swear on the Koran or the Bible but in the name of Allah instead of God when they are appointed to a new office in the Government.
The new Constitution, which defines the 4th Republic of Chad as a presidential regime, has become the central law of the country since the 4th of May of 2018.
Article 105 of the Constitution prescribes that before being appointed to office, members of the government must take an oath to fulfil the duties of their office before the President of the Republic. Muslims must swear on the Koran, Christians on the Bible. Those who profess no religion must swear an oath through an ancient ritual.
Some religious people in Chad, mainly Christians are against the agreement, by which they have to swear on the Bible in the name of Allah, and not in the name of God.
Madeleine Alingué, the Communication Minister, refused to profess the oath in the name of Allah. She eventually obliged the president of the court to accept her oath, but this time, in the name of God.
Djibergui Amane Rosine, the minister for civil Aviation also refused to make the oath, stating that Christians are prohibited from making oaths or swearing on the Bible. She was banned from taking office and replaced by General Mahamat Rozi.
The political commentator, Évariste Ngarlem Toldé posited that the current understanding of the Constitution infringes on the religious independence of the country and that ministers should not be discriminated against because of their faith. He talked about the importance of the separation of Church and State. “The administration of public affairs cannot be based on oaths taken on a holy book,” he said.
Sitack Yombatina Beni is a Protestant pastor and lawyer. According to him, Christians are strictly prohibited from swearing on the Bible. He explained that “for Christians, the Holy Bible says clearly: Do not swear. Some people say that in the USA it is customary to swear on the Bible. But the USA cannot be a point of reference. The only reference is the Bible and according to it, a true Christian does not swear.”
The head of State, Idriss Déby Itno wants to appease the Christian community. He plans to organise an interview with Monsignor Alphonse Karamba to discuss the wording of the oath in the new Constitution. Monsignor Alphonse Karamba is the General Administrator of the Diocese of N’Djaména, and assistant general secretary to the Entente des Eglises et Missions Évangéliques au Tchad (EEMET- Entente of the Evangelical Churches and Missions in Chad).
Source: Journal Chrétien
Translator: Ildikó Ungvári