Zanzibar: Harsh Treatment for Christian Kids
Tanzania is on the coast of East Africa. On the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar where most of the people are Muslims, Christians have faced persecution for a long time.
Workers from The Voice of the Martyrs recently encouraged Christians from Zanzibar. The workers learned more about the struggles faced by the Christians’ children. Read below what one of the workers said.
Islamic Classes for Christian Students
The Zanzibar government requires that every public school teach Arabic and Islamic studies. [Islam is the religion of Muslims.] Every student must pass exams on Arabic and Islam. If they fail either exam, the students will not be allowed to graduate.
[The official language of Tanzania is Swahili, but many people also speak Arabic. Muslims believe that the true meaning of the Quran can be fully learned only in Arabic. The Quran is the Muslim holy book.]
Free to Be Bullies
Teachers are also encouraged to single out Christian students with harsh discipline and constant rebuke of their beliefs. They are discouraged from punishing Muslim students who harass their Christian peers. One Christian told us the story of his elementary-age son. The boy is one of only two Christians in his entire school. One day a group of Muslim boys locked him in the outhouse [outdoor toilet] for hours. Not even a word was spoken to reprimand the Muslim boys.
(Source: VOM contacts. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)