15 October 2012

Tanzania: CCM Condemns Mbagala Riots

Photo: The Daily News
The secretary of the Council of Muslims' Organisations Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda and 49 followers were arraigned before the Kisutu Resident Magistrates' Court in Dar es Salaam.

CHAMA Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has condemned Friday's skirmishes that saw several churches in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam, being torched by people believed to be Muslim faithful.

The Party's Secretary of Ideology and Publicity, Mr Nape Nnauye, said in Dar es Salaam that the incident was unnecessary and uncalled for. "The act of urinating on the Muslim's holy book is not acceptable at all. But the act of destroying churches is illegal as well," he said.

He called for patience as the government has promised to get to the bottom of the problem. Violence erupted after a boy urinated on the Quran. Meanwhile, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) has called for self-restraint among its followers in the wake of the torching of their church last Friday.

During the mass at Mbagala Parish on Sunday, Pastor Boniface Kombo said that despite the destruction and the suffering as a result of the violence, it is in the interest of the faithful to pray for the culprits in line with the gospel. Following the destruction, hundreds of worshippers had to attend the Sunday service outside.

Pastor Amani Lyimo said the Church still has confidence in the leadership of President Jakaya Kikwete and that the state would handle the matter properly. Pastor Lyimo called for restraint and reminded the congregation that it was not its duty to take revenge. He added that the matter has to be left in the hands of God.

He said that revenge would only fuel the problem and increase religious animosity, bringing about a situation that is similar to what is happening in Nigeria and elsewhere. In another development, Anglican bishops have asked the government to take stern measures against the culprits who caused chaos and destroyed the churches at Mbagala.

A joint statement from 22 bishops was presented at a press conference held in Mwanza on Sunday by the Archbishop, Dr Valentino Mokiwa.

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