Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zanzibar Muslims, Officials Stop Church Building, Erect Mosque




Islamists demolish foundation; police withhold crime report from court.

On an island off the coast of East Africa where the local government limits the ability of Christians to obtain land, officials in one town have colluded with area Muslims to erect a mosque in place of a planned church building.
 

On the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, Pastor Paulo Kamole Masegi of the Evangelistic Assemblies of God had purchased land in April 2007 for a church building in Mwanyanya-Mtoni, and by November of that year he had built a house that served as a temporary worship center, he said.
 

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.

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