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Church in Zanzibar grows despite persecution

Catholic World News - July 03, 2014

The Church in Zanzibar, the overwhelmingly Muslim archipelago that is part of Tanzania, has continued to grow despite persecution, according to the parish priest of the cathedral in Zanzibar City.

Within the past two years, one priest has been murdered, another has been shot, three Catholics have been the victims of acid attacks.

Speaking to the news service of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, Father Cosmas Shayo said that some Muslims regularly insult clergy, religious, and other Christians, at times via loudspeakers. “We often turn deaf to such insults, and we always advise Christians to do the same,” he said.

Father Shayo also said that poor Christians, especially women, are lured into marriages with wealthier Muslims and then induced to convert.

Nonetheless, the Diocese of Zanzibar has eight parishes, ten priests, women religious from four congregations, three health centers, and over two dozen schools, from nursery schools to a community college. An estimated 4,500 Catholics are part of the cathedral parish, Father Shayo said.

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