Jump directly to the content

Are Christian-Muslim Relations in East Africa Going the (Violent) Way of Nigeria?

(Updated) Explosion by Islamists at Kenyan church follows similar church attack in formerly safe Tanzania.

Update (June 13): Morning Star News reports that Islamist terrorist group Al Shabaab is behind a church explosion that inured 15 people in Kenya.

Kenya is the latest East African country thrust into Muslim-Christian turmoil and attacks, especially since jihadists have begun recruiting ex-Christians, as CT reported in January.

––-

Update (May 10): The result of a two-day interfaith dialogue in the Tanzania capital Dar-es Salaam is a ban on all types of religious hate speech, Sabahi Online reports. Religious leaders reached the decision as a way of easing religious tensions in the country, which World Watch Monitor says is "no longer being considered 'safe,'" even though it once was a model of African peace.

Meanwhile, Sabahi also reports that courts have dismissed charges against one suspect in the bombing at an Arusha church last Sunday.

––-

A bomb exploded during a high-profile church service in Tanzania last Sunday, raising fears that the violence perpetrated by militant Islamists in Nigeria could be spreading to other parts of Africa.

The attack during the inaugural mass at newly built Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Arusha killed two people and injured 30 others.

Morning Star News reports that "terrorist groups have not been active in Tanzania since the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in 1998, but President Jakaya Kikwete termed Sunday's explosion a terrorist attack."

Eight people already have been arrested in connection with the blast. Officials say the motive behind the attack remains unknown, but tensions between Muslims and Christians have been high lately.

Earlier this year, disagreement between Muslims and Christians in Tanzania over the slaughtering of animals for sale led to the beheading of a pastor. In addition, on Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, a Catholic priest was shot and killed by Islamists, the second attack on the island's Christians since Christmas.

In neighboring Kenya, masked gunmen attacked two churches last July, prompting some analysts to suggest that Islamist extremists are seeking to copy Boko Haram's terrorism campaign against Nigerian churches.

CT also recently reported that Tanzania ranked 24th on the 2013 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. African nations have surged up the ranks to take many top spots on the list in recent years.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Related Topics:Africa
Posted:May 7, 2013 at 2:17PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Died: Doug Coe, Humble Faith in the Halls of Power
His Fellowship is the force behind DC discipleship and the National Prayer Breakfast.
How Pastors Perceive Domestic Violence Differently
Most pastors want their churches to be a safe haven, but don’t have a plan to get there.
Trump Adviser’s Megachurch Withholds Major Donation from SBC
Prestonwood Baptist diverts denominational giving over concerns about Russell Moore’s ERLC.
Black, White, and Blue: How Christians Rate the Police
Race influences views of US law enforcement more than religious tradition—except locally.
Christianity Today
Are Christian-Muslim Relations in East Africa Going the (Violent) Way ...