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Christian women bribed to wear burkas in Madagascar

by Heather Preston

Poor non-Muslim women including Christians are being offered money by IS extremists to start wearing burkas in Madagascar.

According to a local bishop, radical Muslims are exploiting the country's most destitute people in a bid to gain more converts to Islam.

"We have learned that in the universities the young, non-Muslim female students are being paid three Euros a day to wear the burka," Bishop Georges Varkey Puthiyakulangara of Port-Bergé told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

"They are taking advantage of the poverty of the people, and especially of the students who need money. 85 per cent of the people are living below the poverty threshold," he added. 

Bishop Georges says an increase in building developments initiated by people "from abroad" has contributed to a growing Muslim presence in the country.

"The number of Muslims is increasing rapidly. In the past, there were only Comorese, Pakistanis and a few Madagascans, but now people are arriving from abroad, we don't know how, and there is recruitment within the country," he said.

"They are building mosques everywhere. In fact, there is an agreement with the government to build 2,400 mosques.

"In my diocese, for example, there are no Muslims, and yet many mosques are being built. At the same time they are trying to convert people, setting up Koranic schools and giving scholarships to the children who attend them," he said.

ACN works to support Madagascar's Christian community through the building of church buildings and religious resources to train and equip local leaders there.

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