The current ruler of the Ivory Coast (also known as Cote d’Ivoire) is Laurent Gbagbo, a Christian from the northern region of the country. The international community -- including the United States and the United Nations (UN) -- however, has rejected the legitimacy of his presidency because he rigged the election.
Indeed, his Muslim opponent Alassane Ouattara was initially declared the winner in the 2010 Ivory Coast presidential election. However, the Constitutional Council – dominated by Gbagbo supporters --fraudulently removed votes for Ouattara and thus gave the victory to Gbagbo.
Now, the Ivory Coast is embroiled in a civil war between Ouattara and Gbagbo camps. The West has maintained its support for the Muslim Ouattara. France and the UN have even sent troops to fight for him.
The situation in the Ivory Coast is a clear case of Western powers unanimously supporting a Muslim power over his Christian opponent. To the West, it wasn’t about the religious affiliations of Ouattara or Gbagbo; it was simply the fact that Gbagbo took an office that rightly belonged to Ouattara.
Muslims extremists of the world claim that Western countries are waging a holy war again Islam. They claim that all over the world, Western powers are systematically attacking Muslim interests while backing Judeo-Christian opponents.
It is precisely this type of belief that sometimes pushes Islamic extremists to commit acts of terrorism.
But such beliefs are simply not true in reality.
While backing Ouattara in 2011 doesn’t trump decades of Western involvement (and in some cases, mistakes) in the Middle East, it serves as further evidence that Western states are not at war with the religion of Islam.
Their actions in the Middle East have been dictated by secular national interests – in some cases, they were partly motivated by a sense of justice.
The liberation of Kuwait by the United States is a good example. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq was condemned by both the United States and the Muslim world. Motivated partly by national interests and partly by justice, the United States decided to send in troops to liberate Kuwait from its Iraqi occupier.
Like other actions of the United States in the Middle East, the suppression of Islam was not at all the goal of sending troops to Kuwait.
CIA's breakdown of Ivory Coast's religious affiliations:
Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7% (2008 est.)
note: the majority of foreigners (migratory workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%)