This country is no longer featured on the World Watch List

World Watch List Appearances

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Where Persecution Comes From
Persecution in Tanzania comes from radical Islamic groups. The country is essentially split into two very distinct populations: the island of Zanzibar is a hotbed for Islamic radicalism, while the mainland has a Christian majority. Radical groups aim to establish an Islamic state that would include Zanzibar and a significant portion of the Tanzanian mainland. In this Islamic state, there would be no tolerance of Christians or other religious deviants. While the idea is already gaining traction among Tanzania’s Muslim population, there is also a push to establish Sharia (Islamic law) courts throughout the country–something that the drafters of the country’s constitution have already begun working on.

How Christians are Suffering
All Christian communities in Tanzania are experiencing Christian persecution to some degree, but the Christian population on the Muslim-majority island of Zanzibar suffer the most. These Christians are frequently isolated, marginalized and denied access to community resources. Throughout the country, there have been waves of attacks against Christians, their property and churches that have resulted in the loss of life. Bullying, harassment and physical attacks, as well as arson, have occurred at the hands of radical Islamic groups. Churches have a difficult time obtaining the necessary registration and building new churches, as well as getting permits for assembly and preaching.

In September 2016, Yohana Joseph Shemzigwa was killed in the Tanga Region by an Islamic militant who attacked a Lutheran church.
In April 2017, a Catholic church in the coastal region was broken into and set on fire. A note left at the scene included a death threat.

Why Isn't this country on the World Watch List?

Outside of the top 50.

Pray for Tanzania

  • Pray for Christians in areas dominated by radical Islam who cannot own Bibles.
  • Pray that God would grant His children grace to undergo resentment and prejudice honorably.
  • Pray for members of the Islamist separatist group Uamsho who orchestrate church attacks.

Stories from Tanzania

May 21, 2019

In Africa, Christians Are in the Flames of Persecution—and On Fire for Jesus

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Christians are being held, feet to the flames, and told to deny Christ. Read More


September 20, 2018

Pray With Pastors’ Families Enduring Twisted Acts of Persecution

Several pastors on the island of Zanzibar are suffering persecution that has led to unthinkable acts against their families. Read More


September 6, 2017

Attacks Rock Tanzanian University

Students in the residence hall at a Lutheran-run university in Tanzania narrowly escaped as assailants argued over how to kill them. Read More