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ICC Note:
Christian leaders in Tanzania have challenged the government to confront and end religious violence in Tanzania. After a fall that saw several churches burned down by Islamic extremists, Christians living in Tanzania are hoping the government will be able to provide them with a safe environment in which to worship freely.
12/30/2012 Tanzania (AllAfrica) – As the world celebrated Christmas, the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, religious leaders have agitated for greater peace and harmony.
They have called on the government to contain religious conflicts. The Catholic Church went a mile farther, challenging the government to take its role in providing security to churches and other places of worship against sabotages by gangs of criminals.
The Archbishop of the Dar es Salaam Catholic Archdiocese, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, told the press that the government was sorely responsible for enabling the worshipers undertake their religious activities peacefully short of which chaos may erupt.
He said that although the government does not have direct affiliation in any religious sect, it recognizes the presence of religions, denominations and their activities and was therefore obliged to take immediate action whenever trouble occurs. “The government must ensure peace and security at places of worship be it at mosques, temples or churches. It has to make sure these places are respected,” he stressed.
The Cardinal was referring to the recent chaos in the country where unknown criminal gangs torched a number of churches. Cardinal Pengo who was officiating at the Holy Christmas Mass at the new Kinyerezi Parish in the City, said worshippers must avoid abusing or insulting each other. They should respect each one’s religious beliefs, he said. He called on the authorities to fairly allocate resources to people particularly the poor.
He added that unequally distributed national resources might create endless conflicts. Commenting on the new constitution, Archbishop Pengo said his own opinion on the exercise was that it should contribute to maintenance of peace and solidarity among Tanzanians. “The new constitution should ensure freedom of worship and safeguard people’s beliefs in their spiritual lives,” he said.

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