Persecution of Non-Muslims (Malawi)

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Note that the persecution of apostates and the persecution of homosexuals are covered in separate pages

Threats against Christians "dramatically increased" since the events of September 11. Church in largely Muslim area burned down

A mission church was burned on September 26 in the area south of Lake Malawi, reports a church leader who fears recriminations if he and his church are identified. Local authorities have no suspects in the attack. The church leader suspects anti-Christian fanatics to be responsible for the incident. The unoccupied church was set alight late in the evening, and the wood-grass constructed building burned quickly. The church had been operating in this largely Muslim area for several years and is largely composed of converts from a Muslim background. Since the events of September 11, threats against the Christians in the area dramatically increased. Rev. Abusa Wedja, pastor of an Assemblies of God church, confirmed that churches active in evangelism in this region become targets, especially when there is strong anti-Christian feeling. \"We can only put our hope and faith in God, that He will fight for us and protect us as we continue to witness to the people here,\" he said.
Mission Church Burned
Compass Direct, December 14, 2001

2 Christian school teachers stoned, threatened with machetes and warned that they will be sent back to their original villages as corpses if they continue to hold prayer meetings in their houses

Two Christian school teachers working in the southern area of Lake Malawi have been stoned, threatened with machetes and warned that they will be sent back to their original villages as corpses if they continue to hold meetings in their houses. Both married with children, the teachers have been told to stop the prayer meetings and Bible Studies they have been organizing. Since the threat made by village elders six months ago, the two men have been living in fear, praying together secretly and hoping that God will soon do something to soften the attitude of the local authorities. Malawi has a strong Christian tradition, with well-established churches. The Chichewa people - the largest population group - is either animist or Christian. The Yao people, predominately Muslim, live mostly in the area where the teachers were assigned to the government school. One teacher said, \"It is obvious that Muslims have one law, one justice for themselves, and another for anyone else.
Christian Teachers Threatened
Compass Direct, December 14, 2001

Muslims protest against the deportation of 5 Al Qaeda suspects by attacking Christians in a 2 day riot, damaging 7 churches and a Save the Child aid agency building. Catholic priest dragged from his car and beaten

A faction of Muslims in Malawi launched protests against the deportation of five Al Qaeda suspects in Blantyre and Mangochi on 28 June, which brough injuries and incendiary fire in Christian churches, The Nation, a Malawian newspaper, reported on 30 June.

The Muslims rioted for two days against Christians. Seven churches were damaged and also the national offices of the aid agency Save the Child was also their target.

Cedric Kamoto, a pastor of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian said "As the Muslims chanted Islamic slogans, they threatened people to get out of Mangochi. They told Christians that Christians disturbs them by bringing Americans in Malawi.

Justin Opuku, director of the national office interviewed with the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the Muslims attacked a pickup truck, a Roman Catholic priest was inside of it. Bernard Thungwa, a seminary professor who was in the truck said "the Muslims pulled Girevulo from the car and beated him before others came to rescue."

In Malawi, Muslim constitute is only 13 percent of its population. But the Muslim population is growing. Now president Bakili Muluzi is also a Muslim. But he doesn't want any religious conflicts in his country.

"I don't want anybody who cause religious strife in Malawi," he said.

The five suspected Al Qaeda members were handed over to the U.S. after debate both within and outside of the country.

On 28, 11 people were arrested for the riots. Inspector General Joseph Aironi told The Nation that "we will not tolerate any terrorist elements to use this country as a hiding place."
Malawi Muslims Attack Christians
Young S. Lee, The Christian Post, July 3, 2003

Muslims take offense at Bibles being distributed, resort to burning them in protest

Muslims in southern Malawi have been burning Bibles in protest against their distribution in Islamic schools by Gideon's International, a senior Muslim Association of Malawi official said on Tuesday.

"That annoyed some parents and other leaders who have resorted to burning the holy books ... in protest," Sheikh Imran Sharif, the association's secretary general, told Reuters.

He said the burning of Bibles was carried out by a few Muslim fanatics and the association has ordered them to stop.

Malawi has 1.7 million Muslims, mostly living in the south of the country, that has a population of about 15 million.

The Muslim protest has been widely criticised in secular Malawi, which has had little religious friction.

Reverend McDonald Kadawati, a leading Christian clergyman asked Muslim leaders to ask followers to stop burning Bibles.

"This is a sad case of religious intolerance and we condemn it in all uncertain terms," Kadawati said. He called on police to arrest those involved.

Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito said police have launched an investigation but did not say how many Bibles have been burnt.

Gideon's International, which is dedicated to providing copies of the Bible to people around the globe, said on its Website it has distributed about 90 million Bibles in 22 countries in eastern Africa.

The incident in Malawi comes after U.S. President Barack Obama appealed for religious tolerance last month in response to a Florida pastor's threat to burn copies of the Koran, which sparked an outcry in the Muslim world.
Malawi Muslims burn Bibles in protest
Mabvuto Banda, Reuters, October 5, 2010