Friday, July 29, 2011

Muslims Seize Christian Burial Sites in Tanzania’s Archipelago

Authorities of predominantly Islamic Zanzibar island chain decline to act.

Influential Muslims on this East African island have begun building what appears to be a hotel on a 100-year-old burial site owned by an Anglican church, Christian leaders said.

Church leaders with ownership papers for the land told Compass they are disturbed that authorities have taken no action since they filed a police complaint in December about the seizure of the burial site three kilometers (nearly two miles) from Zanzibar city’s airport. Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago, including the largest island of Zanzibar (officially known as Unguja), is 99.9 percent Muslim.

“We see that the government is partisan and would not like to see the church grow in Zanzibar,” the Rev. Canon Emmanuel John Masoud told Compass. “The retired Chief Justice Augustino Ramadani, who is a member of the Anglican church, was appointed to be a link between the church and the government to facilitate the negotiation process, but it seems that nothing is bearing fruits. Hence the church is not supported in any way.”

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