Date: June 17, 2013
(Image of Tanzania flag courtesy Wikipedia)
Tanzania (VOM) ― The persecution of Christians in Tanzania continues. The spike could put the country's reputation as a country "free of religious violence" in jeopardy.
Over the last year, the violence has been steadily increasing while at the same time becoming more public. Last month, a deadly church bombing occurred, with more violence continuing on into this month.
The Voice of the Martyrs USA made note of an attack just two weeks ago. According to their sources, the home of Pastor Robert Ngai in Geita town, northeastern Tanzania, was attacked by a large group of radical Muslims.
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 (EAGT) Church. At last word from VOM contacts, he was still in ICU. 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 VOM'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 (FPCT) 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!"
VOM 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.
In this Christian majority country with a substantial Muslim population, there is a strong Islamist drive toward the Tanzanian "House of Islam." On the Zanzibar archipelago, Islamic militants bent on wiping out all Christians from the islands have burnt and looted churches and threatened persecuted Christians with death.
The push for the spread of Islam is less violent but equally persistent on the mainland. If successful, it could threaten the presence of the Church on the Zanzibar archipelago.
Pray that pressure from Islamic extremists will be resisted and freedom of religion protected.
Pray for protection for church leaders on Zanzibar and Pemba islands. Pray that Christians will have courage to share God's love with Muslims.