Religion in Mauritania

Video Transcript

As a Westerner, or Anglo-Saxon, somebody who's not from Mauritania, from Africa, from the Muslim world; you're gonna be sitting, you're gonna be breaking bread with them or having tea, and the conversation will come up, the topic of, 'So, are you Jewish? Are you Christian? What are you?' And this again goes back to that direct, get in your business. Because they say, 'Don't discuss politics and religion, [they're] off-limits.' In Mauritania, as is the case in a lot of the [region], they will ask you, 'What are you?' Be prepared to say, not that you're gonna lie to them, like I said, but rather be very creative. One of the ways when I used to go around and teach is, people say, 'Sir, I don't believe in God. What am I supposed to say?' And I will say, 'Choose a god, for example. Not to deceive, but to accomplish your mission.

I found out recently, even with people that are not deploying, these are just friends in my circle, they will say, to avoid the direct answer they will say, 'I am still searching for God.' Which is a very creative way, 'cause you tell somebody, 'I'm searching for God.' You don't tell them what you are. You didn't tell them you're atheist, or agnostic. You didn't tell them you're Christian or Jewish. You just tell them, 'I'm looking for God.'

But rule number one, never say you're atheist. Because, for a lot of reasons, one of them, primarily, is that's called the 'infidel' or the 'kafir,' the non-believer. Literally, not from the position of the enemy, where it's all about al-Qaida, whatever. Just [a] regular Muslim would not associate with someone who is not a believer because it is cautioned on, not to be part of that, so do not walk the path of the kafir. Not the Christian or the Jew, 'cause a lot of Muslims have married, and they continue to marry Christians and [Jews], especially for the [males], that is.

In this video, a Mauritanian expert explains religion in Mauritania.