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Bishop Daniel Kwileba Kwiyeya - Morning Star News www.morningstarnews.org
Bishop Daniel Kwileba Kwiyeya
Photo: Morning Star News

A Pentecostal church in Kisauni, which is located in Zanzibar (a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania), has been facing pressure from local Muslims about its presence in the community. The annoyed community members lobbied the local authorities, who complied and issued the church a notice of closure.

The complaint was that the services were too loud, even though the church did not use loudspeakers, as customarily done at the local mosque. In fact, the congregants had not faced any problems until their new building was completed in February.

Despite the order, a decision was made by the church leadership to resist the closure, as demonstrated by the filing of an official objection and the continuance of worship services. On May 6th, police officers walked into the service and arrested the lead pastor, Bishop Daniel Kwileba Kwiyeya. When his daughter attempted to intervene, she was also taken away. Both were released later that day with no charges.

This is not a unique situation in Zanzibar. In January 2018, a bulldozer arrived and destroyed a church in Zanzibar Town without warning. Additionally, in March, authorities ripped down a temporary church structure in Kiwengwa.

Please remember the churches in Zanzibar, as they face these difficulties. As for the recent notice of closure in Kisauni, pray that God will mediate on behalf of the church members and leadership, granting them wisdom in the process. May Christians throughout the country serve as agents of God's love and peace to their neighbours -- including those who oppose them -- through their consistent witness of Christ.