Muslim Hate in Tanzania

Persecuted Pastors Attacked, Stabbed in Tanzania


The persecution of Christians in Tanzania continues. Two pastors have recently been attacked, and the police are doing little about it.

On the night of Sunday, June 2, a large group of radical Muslims attacked the home of pastor Robert Ngai in Geita town, northeastern Tanzania. The attackers broke into the home and attacked Pastor Ngai with machetes. The pastor received serious cuts on his hands and arms when he raised his arms to protect his head from the blows. Doctors at the local hospital said the injuries were beyond their ability to treat and urged that he be rushed to a hospital in a nearby, larger city for treatment.

Ngai is the pastor of the Evangelical Assemblies of God Church. At last word from Voice of the Martyr contacts, he was still in the intensive care unit. Geita town is less than 50 miles from Buseresere, the city where Pastor Mathayo Kachili was killed by radical Muslims in February. Kachili’s story, and that of his widow, Generosa, is featured in Voice of the Martyr's June newsletter.

Two nights before the attack on Pastor Ngai, the home of Pastor Daudi Nzumbi in Geita also came under attack. Pastor Nzumbi leads the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania congregation in Geita. Thankfully, the attackers fled after they were confronted by Pastor Nzumbi’s large, barking dogs.

When Pastor Nzumbi heard his dogs barking, he looked out the window and saw the attackers. He called the police, but the officer in charge told him, “I cannot protect every pastor!”

Voice of the Martyr contacts are working to get more details on these attacks and to offer encouragement and assistance to these two pastors and other Christians in Tanzania affected by violent Islamic attacks. Please continue to pray for Christians in Tanzania as well as for their persecutors.

Muslims Behead Another Christian Pastor

by Raymond Ibrahim on February 22, 2013 

A Christian pastor was recently slaughtered in the Muslim-majority African nation of Tanzania.  While butchering Christian minorities is becoming increasingly common in that part of the Muslim world, the context for this latest slaughter is somewhat different than the usual forms of Christian persecution under Islam—such as allegations of “blaspheming” the name of Muslim prophet Muhammad.  And yet, as in most forms of modern-day Muslim attacks on Christians, it too fits patterns and precedents.

On February 11, Pastor Mathayo Kachili of the Tanzania Assemblies of God Church was beheaded by Muslims.  According to the report, a spokesperson from the local police department said conflicts had been boiling for quite a while now in the area where a section of what are believed to be Muslim leaders had demanded immediate closure of butcheries owned by Christians.  He said that a group of youths believed to be Muslims assaulted several Christians using sticks and machetes and attacked a butchery owner at Buseresere town. During the confrontations pastor Kachili was beheaded.

According to Religious Liberty Monitoring this latest slaying “has its source in a debate presently raging in Tanzania. Apparently it is a ‘long-standing tradition’ in Tanzania that Muslims have a monopoly on the meat industry.  Recently however, Christians in Geita district, Mwanza region—on the southern shores of Lake Victoria—have entered the butchery trade, causing outrage amongst Muslims.”

Tensions got to the point that the Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for social relations “categorically directed that the task of slaughtering animals for public consumption should be executed only by Muslims. He said that people of other faiths may slaughter animals if the meat is solely for family/private consumption—but certainly not for sale to, or consumption by, the general public.”

But if they still insist on working in the trade, then they must, according to Karl Lyimo of the Citizen, be “ready, willing, able and glad to follow the Islamic rituals to the letter”—which is tantamount to saying Christians need to convert to Islam if they want to remain in the business.

Does this conflict simply revolve around Muslim fears of mistakenly eating non-halal meat, or, as has been known to happen, are Muslims attacking and killing non-Muslims for being business competitors, while articulating their hostility in the garb of Islamic piety?

For instance, in March 2010 in Pakistan—a nation which shares neither race, language nor culture with Tanzania, which shares only Islam—Rasheed Masih, described as a “devoted Christian,” was butchered by Muslim men “with multiple axe blows for refusing to convert to Islam.” Earlier, the “six men had threatened to kill 36-year-old Rasheed Masih unless he converted to Islam when they grew resentful of his potato business succeeding beyond their own.”  According to a pastor who knew Rasheed, “As the Christian family [of Rasheed] strengthened in business and earned more, the Muslim men began to harbor business resentment, as Muslims are not used to seeing Christians more respected and richer than them [emphasis added].”  Eventually he was lured to one of their farm houses, where he was slaughtered by repeated axe blows.  The autopsy revealed he had 24 wounds.

Where comes this idea that non-Muslim minorities must not be allowed to compete with Muslims—certainly not surpass them?  From Islamic teachings and doctrines, which reverberate through the centuries.  For example, in the famous Conditions of Omar (also known as the Pact of Omar), along with any number of debilitations and humiliations, subjugated Christians also had to agree to “not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims,” as that might imply a higher status.  In the Medieval era, Islamic heavy weights like Ibn Taymiyya—still revered among many Muslims, especially Salafis—issued fatwa after fatwa decreeing that non-Muslims, Christians chief among them, be dismissed from their positions.  Centuries earlier, Caliph Harun al-Rashid—otherwise portrayed in the West as a “fun-loving” caliph—also fired Christians from their positions of employment to impoverish them, not to mention destroyed numerous churches.

According to the Islamic worldview, subdued “dhimmi” Christians cannot be better than Muslims.  And if they are—despite all the obstacles and debilitations set forth by Islamic law to see that they are not—then, as we are increasingly seeing, Muslims may return the status quo by taking things into their own hands.

Muslim protesters fight police in Tanzania, popular cleric freed

Drazen Jorgic and Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala
October 19, 2012

STONE TOWN/DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Muslim protesters clashed with police in Tanzania's commercial capital and on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar on Friday, raising religious tensions in the east African country.

In Dar es Salaam, protests against the arrest of a hardline Muslim cleric turned violent, while in Zanzibar, supporters of an Islamist separatist group have repeatedly fought police over the disappearance of their spiritual leader, who was then released after nearly four days in captivity.

The violence has raised concerns of an escalation in religious tensions in relatively stable and secular Tanzania, east Africa's second-largest economy.

In Zanzibar, a predominantly Muslim island, supporters of the Islamic Uamsho (Awakening) movement protested for the third day.

Uamsho followers, mostly youths and urban poor, clashed with police after Friday prayers, hurling rocks at police who retaliated with tear gas in sporadic exchanges around the main historic area of Stone Town.

Roads were temporarily closed, with rocks and coconuts strewn across the asphalt, and most businesses shut for the day. Riot police were stationed around mosques around Stone Town.

Fighting erupted on Wednesday, a day after the group's leader Sheikh Farid Hadi disappeared in unknown circumstances.

But late on Friday evening, the popular cleric was released, with shouts of "Allah Akbar" heard rising above Stone Town's maze of narrow alleys which separate Arab-style white coral stone houses.

"He is free. I had my picture taken with him," Thabit Juma, an eyewitness, told Reuters.

One Uamsho member who did not wish to be named confirmed Hadi has been freed, though he would not comment on who was responsible for his disappearance.

Earlier in the day another influential Uamsho cleric Sheikh Azzan Hamdan said the police were not doing enough to search for Hadi and set a deadline, 4 p.m. (1300GMT) on Saturday, for Hadi's safe return.

Violence between Uamsho and police broke out earlier this year on the archipelago, a tourist hotspot.

Analysts say the Uamsho group has been gaining popularity because of disenchantment with Zanzibar's main opposition Civic United Front party after its decision to form a government with the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.


In Dar es Salaam, protesters left the Mtambani mosque after Friday prayers and marched towards the town center chanting demands for the release of Muslim cleric Sheikh Issa Ponda.

"Police came in and started firing tear gas, while Muslim protesters responded by throwing stones," witness Salum Haji told Reuters. In the city center streets were deserted in anticipation of further violence.

"All shops are closed in the city center and there are heavily armed policemen patrolling the streets. We are all locked inside (a shop). I don't know how I'm going to get home," resident Neema Swai told Reuters.

Dar es Salaam's regional police commander, Suleiman Kova, said Ponda had been arrested on Tuesday for criminal trespass on private property and inciting followers to commit violence.

Ponda is the secretary general of the Council of Islamic Organisation, a group that vies for influence against the government-backed National Muslims Council of Tanzania.

Though Ponda is not known to have any links to Uamsho, the protesters also demonstrated against Hadi's disappearance.

Mainland Tanzania, ruled by the secular government of President Jakaya Kikwete, has been rocked by religious tension for the past week.

Muslim protesters burnt five churches on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam on Friday after reports emerged a young Christian boy had urinated on a Koran, Islam's holy book. Local media said the boy had been dared by friends to urinate on the book.

Kikwete visited the torched churches and called for calm.