Pastor Beheaded in Tanzania
Pastor Mathayo Kachili of the Tanzania Assemblies of God in Buseresere was beheaded by a Muslim mob. The Geita Regional Police Commander’s office issued a statement that the murder occurred during a confrontation when Muslims demanded the immediate closure of butcheries owned by Christians. Muslim youth armed with clubs and machetes attacked Christians, injuring several people, some of whom are in a critical condition.
Meat Monopoly Move by Muslim Minority
Pastor Kachili was murdered on Monday, 11 February, when a Muslim mob attacked the Assemblies of God Church in Buseresere. This was part of a nation wide campaign to force all meat industries in Tanzania to be run in accordance with Shari’a law and controlled by the Muslim minority.
ASSIST News Service quoted the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Tanzania, Barnabas Mtokambali: “Our response as a Church is not one of violence and hatred, reflecting the attitude of those committing such crimes, but that of Christ and reflecting His image, by loving and praying for those who humiliate and persecute us, and not holding such sins against them.”
Minister Murdered in Tanzania
Father Evarist Mushi, was ambushed by three men and murdered in Zanzibar, Sunday, 17 February. Father Ambrose Mkenda was shot and seriously injured on Christmas Day 2012. He is still in hospital. A group calling itself Muslim Renewal, has claimed responsibility for the assassination of Father Mushi and has vowed to make this Easter season a “disaster” for Christians in Tanzania.
Church Torched in Egypt
On 15 February, St. Georges Church in Sarsena was torched by a crowd of Muslims who complained that they could hear the sounds of Christian hymns being sung from the church. The attack occurred on a Friday, after Muslims attended their weekly meeting at the mosque.
In the presence of the Chief of Police, hundreds of Muslims hurled bricks at the church, climbed onto the church dome, demolishing it, setting it on fire. The dome collapsed into the burning church causing much damage. The Muslims then used bricks from the dome, and the Holy Cross, to hurl at the altar inside the church, causing part of it to be demolished. The icons and religious artwork in the church were destroyed. The Muslim mob then attempted to assault Father Domadios, throwing rocks at him. None of the police made any effort to stop the destruction, or apprehend the perpetrators.
Reconciliation Muslim Style
The authorities did not prevent the destruction of the church, but immediately afterwards placed a security guard to prevent the media from filming the church and to prevent local parishioners, or reporters, entering the property. The authorities then organised what they called a “reconciliation meeting”, which the Christians described as “unfair and humiliating, like all such previous meetings forced by the Muslim authorities.” Even during the “reconciliation meeting” the church was again attacked by Muslims hurtling rocks and Molotov cocktail petrol bombs to destroy the remains of the dome, the pews, the windows, icons and relics.
Those Coptic members who were chosen by the Muslims to attend the so-called reconciliation meeting were forced to sign an “agreement” which would restrict the church from restoring the building to its original height before the attack. The church is to be no higher than 3 metres from the ground. They are also required to build a soundproof wall, so that Muslim neighbours do not hear any sound of hymns emanating from the church. The church is also required to pay for soundproof material and retiling of the roof of the Muslim neighbours, so that they do not have to hear the sound of any prayers, or hymn singing. The agreement also forced the church to agree to not use their property for a kindergarten. Muslims frequently quote from the Quran that there is no compulsion in Islam, yet by their actions show that compulsion is integral to Islam.
Bitter Arab Winter
No one responsible for the assault and arson on the church of St. Georges in Sarsena has been arrested. Christians in Egypt have complained that, in the last two years, attacks on Christians and destruction of church property has exploded throughout Egypt. The so-called Arab Spring has turned out to be a very bitter Winter for Christians.
Ethiopian Christians Arrested in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian authorities arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians on 8 February, for attending a private worship service in the home of an Ethiopian Believer in Damman, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The arrests took place on Friday, 8 February at 10am. Damman, a major centre for petroleum and natural gas, has a large number of foreigners working there.
Intolerance and Repression
In December 2011, Saudi authorities arrested 35 Ethiopian Christians at a private prayer gathering in Jeddah. The Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, reports: “The Saudi government persists in banning all forms of public religious expression other than that of the government’s interpretation of one school of Sunni Islam; prohibits churches, synagogues, temples and other non-Muslim places of worship. In its school state textbooks, and posts online, continue to espouse intolerance and incite violence; and periodically interferes with private religious practice.”
Under Sentence of Death for Witnessing in Libya
Four foreigners, a South African, South Korean, Egyptian and Swedish American, were arrested in Benghazi, in Libya on 12 February. The Preventative Security Intelligence Unit of the Libyan Defence Ministry raided a publishing house, where they found 45,000 books about Christianity. The authorities claimed that they had reason to believe that some 25,000 Christian books had already been distributed. Quoting a Gaddafi era law forbidding proselytising under pain of death, security official Hussein Bin Hmeid, stated that Libya was “100% Muslim country and this kind of action affects our national security.” The legislation forbidding proselytising provides for the death penalty for Christians who attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity in Libya.
Christian Cemeteries Desecrated, Hospitals and Churches Bombed
The President of the General National Congress, Mohammed El Magariaf, promised that the new constitution will enshrine Islamic Shari’a law as the principle source of all legislation. Salafi Muslim groups have bulldozed Sufi mosques, destroyed allied war cemeteries, bombed Red Cross Hospitals, fired at a Greek Orthodox Church, and bombed a Coptic Christian Church, killing two Egyptian Christians.
Ministers Arrested in Sudan for Baptism
The Coptic Bishop of Khartoum, Bishop Anba Elia, was arrested for refusing to apologise for the actions of two arrested Coptic priests who stand accused of baptising an Arab woman who converted to Christianity. To secure Bishop Elia’s release, the Coptic Bishop of Omdurman was placed under duress to “maintain the security and integrity of the State and preserve relations between the Muslims and the Copts”, was said to have issued an apology on Bishop Elia’s behalf.
Violence has also been threatened against Copts in general, unless the Arab convert, who fled Sudan, returns to face the consequences demanded by Shari’a law. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, at least 55 Christians, that they know of, have been detained without charge for the last two weeks as part of a wave of repression enforcing Shari’a law in Sudan.
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also.” Hebrews 413:3
Dr. Peter Hammond