Five-year-old Iris Osnia Ouattara is being raised by her parents in Burkina Faso in both the Catholic tradition of her father, Denis Ouattara, and the Muslim tradition of her mother, Afoussatou Sanou.
She is celebrating Christmas but also celebrates the Islamic festival of Eid.
At home in Ouagadougou, one of the photos that is proudly displayed is of Iris meeting Father Christmas when she was a baby. The photograph was taken back in 2015 at an office party at the cement company where Denis works.
While he is passing on a sense of Christian identity to Iris, Afoussatou is teaching her about Islam.
“She accompanies me to the mosque and on Sunday she goes to church with him,” Afoussatou says.
Afoussatou prays five times a day at home, but on Fridays she goes to the mosque with Iris.
Her daughter will also often get up with her before sunrise to perform the first prayer of the day.
“Islam is a religion that promotes tolerance and the acceptance of others in their way of seeing things,” she says.
Through a simple Islamic primer, Iris learns how to perform ablutions and pray.
Other books in the house include a well-thumbed Christian book of Psalms.
Denis and Afoussatou have lived together since meeting six years ago in Toussiana, a rural town 55km (34 miles) from Burkina Faso’s second city, Bobo Dioulasso.
They plan on marrying next year in a ceremony that honours both of their religious traditions.
Denis is open to temporarily converting, which, the couple say, some Christian men do for the Islamic ceremony to appease the bride’s relatives before converting back.
“When we decided to get married we met some opposition,” says Denis, whose father was initially hesitant.
“In the beginning it was very complicated. My father doesn’t have a problem but my mother does,” says Afoussatou. “If the man is Christian and the woman is Muslim, in general it is the parents of the woman who refuse.”
She is still trying to persuade her mother to approve of the relationship.
Many Burkinabé families are a mixture of Christians, Muslims and animists and both Christians and Muslims are often welcomed into each other’s places of worship.
The country has historically been held up as an exemplar of religious tolerance.
Afoussatou has many Christian friends and while she will not be going to church on Christmas Day she will be celebrating with her partner’s family.
She says she celebrates “all of the holidays: Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, Christmas”.
On Christmas Day, the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be full of worshippers.
Armed police are expected to be outside this and other churches. Islamist militants have targeted Christians, as well as Muslims, in recent attacks.
In the lead up to Christmas, church leaders have warned congregants to be vigilant, not to carry large bags, to report anything unusual and to respect the security forces.
Near the cathedral, people who fancy decorating their homes can buy a plastic Christmas tree dusted in fake snow.
On Christmas Day Denis will take Iris to the King Christ Parish of Pissy in Ouagadougou, before the whole family, including Afoussatou, meets at Denis’ uncle’s house.
“My religion teaches me to love and accept other people,” says Denis. “It is only God who can judge.”
Iris’ parents will let her decide which religion she wants to follow when she gets older. But for the moment, she can be seen at both the church and the mosque.
Denis and Afoussatou would be happy with whatever choice she makes.
“Love is higher than any religion,” says Denis, who believes all faiths hold a universal truth.
- Bantama SDA Primary Headmaster shot dead by suspected armed robbers
- Playback: Akufo-Addo delivers 25th address on measures taken against Covid-19
- Cameron Duodu: Sɛbe o, tafrakyɛ, na ‘Ɔte K’ɔkɔɔ Soɔ’ deɛ, yɛbɔ n’ano sɛn? – With all due respect, how can the occupant of the Golden Stool be silenced?
- Fuel prices to go up again – Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana
- Kokomba warriors kill human-attacking antelopes
- 10-year-old boy allegedly commits suicide at Dambai
- Man loses lower lip during fight with friend over GH¢18.00
- 2nd dose of Covid-19 vaccines to be deployed from May 19- Akufo-Addo
- Stephen Appiah tells full story of how his son, Rodney joined Olympics
- 7 people electrocuted, 5 others injured at Amanfrom
Chelsea thrashed by Barcelona in Women’s Champions League final
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson pays tribute to father after scoring winner
Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win Italian Open final in Rome
Zinedine Zidane denies telling Real Madrid players he will leave
Suarez rescues Atletico on dramatic day in title day
Armed men attack NPP Communicator
Akufo-Addo applauds Ghanaians for adhering to Covid-19 protocols
Ghana saved $1.4 billion from deferring 3 Power Purchasing Agreements – Energy Minister
Covid-19 pandemic- All non-essential trips to high-risk countries should be postponed – Akufo-Addo
Full text: Akufo-Addo’s 25th address on measures to deal with Covid-19 pandemic
Hologram, QR Code to authenticate full vaccination status of Ghanaians
2nd dose of Covid-19 vaccines to be deployed from May 19- Akufo-Addo
Government is making all efforts to achieve overall vaccination target – Akufo-Addo
Playback: The Probe, discusses Ghana’s 2nd vaccine roll-out and Quest for Herd Immunity
Projects by government to solve energy crisis near completion – Matthew Opoku Prempeh