World Watch List Rank: 36
Leader: President John Magufuli
Population: 55.2 million (29.6 million Christians)
Main Religion: Christianity/ Islam
Government: Democratic republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism
"Lord, we pray for Christians in Tanzania to be protected from harassment and attack. We pray for your supernatural protection and comfort; for confidence and wisdom; and that Christians across Tanzania will be able to unite together and encourage one another."
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Private and public spheres of Tanzanian Christian life have been significantly affected by persecution from radical Muslims, particularly for those on the Muslim-majority island of Zanzibar.
Islamic extremism has been spreading as radical Islamist groups aim to establish an Islamic state in Zanzibar and the Tanzanian mainland's coastal strip.
Their influence has led to the drafting of a new constitution to introduce country-wide Sharia (Islamic law) courts, which has yet to be ratified. Militant movements in Somalia and Kenya are also having an increasing impact on Tanzania.
Worshipping collectively in certain parts of Tanzania and Zanzibar, in particular, has become dangerous, with 13 major attacks on churches in the last two years.
Targeted killings and bombings have bewildered the church and led to an atmosphere of great unease. Speaking about the violence to authorities or in public has become a challenge has well.
In Zanzibar, believers are not free to hold private worship, even in their homes. Their landlords are Muslims and would not even want to hear them play or sing Christian music. Even prayer is restricted. Numerous Muslim leaders on Zanzibar have officially and overtly made threats against Christians in the media and their sermons.
Open Doors has been involved with the church in Tanzania since the mid-1990, and much of their work focuses on providing literature and on developing church leaders, including:
- Cross cultural evangelism and legal awareness
- Economic empowerment programmes
- Trauma care
- Theological training