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Friday, August 6, 2010

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE? Zanzibar Muslims Tear Down Church Foundation Build Mosque

Zanzibar is an Island off of Tanzania. About 97% of the Island's population are Muslim, the remaining 3% are a combination of Hindu and Christians.  .

Non Muslim houses of worship are strictly regulated on the Island and for a Church to be built, for example, special permission must be given.

Pastor Paulo Kamole Masegi of the Evangelistic Assemblies of God had purchased land in April 2007 for a church building in the city of Mwanyanya-Mtoni, and by November of that year he had built a house that served as a temporary worship center, he said. As the foundantion of the building was being built, Islamists demolish the foundation while the local police helped to cover it up.

Masegi intended for the house to serve eventually as his family’s home within the church compound, but on Nov. 11, 2007, his congregation began to worship there. Soon area Muslim residents objected, saying they didn’t like seeing the church in the area, said Pastor Lucian Mgaywa of the Church of God in Tanzania.
“This was the beginning of the church’s tribulations,” Pastor Mgaywa said
In August 2009, local Muslims began to build a mosque just three feet away from the church plot, Pastor Mgaywa said. In November 2009, Pastor Masegi began building a permanent church structure. Angry Muslims invaded the compound and destroyed the structure’s foundation, the pastors said.

Church leaders reported the destruction to police, who took no action – and also refused to release the crime report for court purposes, Pastor Masegi said. When he would inquire about the case, he said, the station head would inform him that the district police chief had the crime report and therefore it was not available.
“So it’s not possible to take the file to the court, because doing so would amount to defending Christianity,” the station police chief told him, according to Pastor Masegi.
Religious tolerance and equal justice go together in nations dominated by the the religion of peace. They go together right out the window.

With the district police chief sealing off any possibility of a court hearing, the church was unable to proceed with plans for building a permanent structure. In the meantime, construction of a mosque was well underway. It was completed by the end of December 2009.

The planned church building’s fate appeared to have been sealed earlier this year when Western District Commissioner Ali Mohammed Ali notified Pastor Masegi that he had no right to hold worship in a “residential house.” The Feb. 16 letter from the commissioner to Pastor Masegi forbidding him to convert his house into a worship center confirmed the decision by the district chief of Bububu police station not to prosecute those who destroyed the foundation of the planned church building, he said.

“Now the Christian faithful are feeling targeted even by the government officials,” said Pastor Masegi. “The region is predominantly Muslim, and attempts at evangelizing are always met with brutal resistance.”

Since the prohibition to conduct worship services in his home, both police and area Muslims monitor Pastor Masegi’s movements, he said, and the congregation has no place to worship.
No place to worship is exactly the intention. Many followers of the religion of peace like to complain about Xenophobia and the lack of religious tolerance for Muslims throughout the western world. The truth is that most western nations go overboard trying to show tolerance to their Muslim community. On the other hand many Islamic countries do not show the slightest bit of tolerance for their religious minorities. This episode in Zanzibar is just one more example.

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