Religion in the Remaking of Rwanda after Genocide
Bazuin, Joshua Theodore
Religion played an important role in the Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, but it is also playing a significant role in Rwanda’s recovery. Using a mixed methods approach, this dissertation inquires about the role of religious beliefs, religious social contacts, and religious organizations in promoting reconciliation after the genocide. Religious beliefs and values have laid the groundwork for hope and action for many people. Individuals rely on religious values, religious friends, and religious organizations for psychological support, vital economic assistance, and as means to reassert their personhood and membership in community. Religious organizations have developed religious understandings of peace as well as programs to respond to individual and community needs. These individual and organizational efforts are quantitatively and qualitatively linked to a variety of positive post-conflict outcomes. The role of religion in working toward peace in Rwanda is limited, however, as the country’s government has created a powerful state apparatus which discursively defines the genocide, peace, and reconciliation in ways which restrict the range of religious action.