Tanzania has seen a dramatic escalation in Christian persecution over the past seven months. Much of the violence has originated from the small island of Zanzibar, located off of Tanzania’s east coast. With a population that is almost 99 percent Muslim, Christians are a small minority on the island and easily targeted by extremist elements. With the Church on Zanzibar increasingly under attack, many are beginning to wonder if extremists are attempting to drive Christians off the island all together.
Persecuted Pastor Speaks About Persecution on Zanzibar
In an interview with ICC, Pastor Dickson, whose church on Zanzibar was attacked by extremists, helps shed light on the increased persecution of Christians on the island. “[The] attack at my church occurred on May 26, 2012,” Pastor Dickson said. “Radical Muslims, who are growing in number in Tanzania, set fire to my church building. They set fire to all of the chairs, musical equipment and our PA system,” the pastor explained. “They even [burned] our Bibles and set my car on fire.”
“I don’t exactly know why my church was targeted, but I think one reason is that my church congregation was growing very fast,” the pastor went on to say. “God has been using me mightily. Many people, including Muslims, have come for healing and some of them are converting to Christianity.”
“In general, there is an increased hatred of Christianity on the island now,” the pastor responded when asked about the recent increase in Christian persecution. “Attacks against churches have increased.”
“There have been other incidents. A young boy of about 22 years was jailed when he was falsely accused of burning a Quran. Two pastors have been killed in separate incidents,” the pastor continued.