Religious tensions in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Two homemade bombs explodedMonday on the popular tourist island of Zanzibar, one blast at the Anglicancathedral in Stone Town, and the other at a popular tourist bar and restaurant,Mercury’s. In the last few years, there have been a number of attacks on Christianleaders and several churches set on fire. In August 2013, two British girlsvolunteering in Zanzibar were the targets of an acid attack in Stone Town. TheU.S. Embassy has warned of “Western women being harassed for dressingimmodestly in public.”

Reports statethat the predominantly Muslim population feels marginalised by the seculargovernment. One Muslim group has called for the dissolution of the United Republic of Tanzania and the creation of an Islamist state for the island of Zanzibar, and have also called for the expulsion of Christians, saying they have no place on the island.

Travellers to this popular island should be aware of growing religious tensions in Zanzibar. Some tour companies are recommending that travellers do not go into Stone Town. Most travellers are visiting all-inclusive resorts and have no trouble, however, if leaving the resort, exercise a high level of caution.

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