February 25, 2013
The past two weeks have seen two Christian leaders in Tanzania killed by radical Muslims. The first was an Assembly of God pastor killed on Feb. 11 in the northwest part of the country. Pastor Mathayo Kachili was killed when Muslims attacked Christians who had butchered an animal. (Traditionally all of the butcher shops in Tanzania have been run by Muslims, but in recent months Christians have tried to change that.)
Six days later, VOM received the following message from one of our Christian contacts in Tanzania:
"While we were busy trying to heal the wounded hearts of Christians of Buseresere-Katoro of Geita, I have just got a VERY SAD news that Rev. Fr Evarist Mushi of Roman Catholic Church and the head priest of St. Theresia Cathedral in Mtoni County of Zanzibar has just been attacked and shot dead by extremist Islamists and died on spot! He was driving a car to his church for Sunday service of this morning, now his life is taken away! HOW LONG SHALL CHRISTIAN BEAR WITH THIS BARBARIC ACTS WHICH ARE NOT SANCTIONED BY THE TANZANIAN GOVERNMENT?
A police spokesman said that Father Evarist Mushi was blocked by two men at the entrance to his Catholic church on Zanzibar Island and shot in the head. A group calling itself "Muslim Renewal" took credit for his murder and claimed the young attackers had been trained in Somalia. More concerning for Christians on Zanzibar and in the rest of Tanzania, the group says there are more attacks to come: "Many more will die. We will burn homes and churches. We have not finished: at Easter, be prepared for disaster."
Tanzania is a majority-Christian country, according to Operation World, but there is a growing radical-Muslim presence, and persecution is on the rise. Particularly concerning to Christians is the possibility that Islamists in Tanzania are linking with terrorist groups in other countries, such as al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Please pray for Christians in Tanzania. Pray that God will sustain and heal Pastor Kachili's widow and children. Pray that church leaders in the country will know how to respond to persecution and that Christians will be supernaturally empowered to forgive their persecutors. Finally, pray that Muslims will come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.