This sad story of Muslims behaving badly comes from the Tanzanian Citizen newspaper: two 14-year-old friends, one Muslim, one Christian, were walking home from school in a Dar es-Salaam suburb. The Muslim boy told the Christian that anyone who desecrates the Koran will be turned into a snake. The Christian didn't believe him and, to put it to the test, he urinated on his friend's Koran. Adolescent hijinks -- kids being kids, you might think. Dumb, but what can you do? They're 14-year-old boys.
The Muslim boy's father, however, didn't find the story amusing. He was outraged, and the Christian boy was detained at the local police station.
Five days later, after being stirred up in Friday prayers, a crowd of Muslim "youth" gathers in front of the police station, demanding that the boy be turned over to them "so that he would be punished accordingly" -- the appropriate punishment being decapitation. The police refuse to release the boy, so the Muslims respond by rioting, burning five Christian churches, lighting tires in the road, and breaking store windows. A hundred and twenty-two are arrested.
This interfaith dialogue of burning churches has become endemic to Tanzania, although it has been confined mostly to the island of Zanzibar. There, as of May 31, 2012, twenty-five churches and convents had been torched. Other churches were burned on June 17, July 27, and July 30. According to a report on one incident, "[t]he assailants were shouting, 'Away with the church - we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children.'" Muslim activists also block construction of Christian churches with court injunctions and other sleazy tactics. It's ethnic cleansing, pure and simple, and it's effective: Zanzibar is more than 99% Muslim.
The Isles government that controls Zanzibar has taken no action to arrest or punish those responsible, appearing to condone the activities. Mainland Tanzania, in contrast, is 30% Christian and 35% Muslim, with 35% holding "indigenous beliefs." Condemnation of the recent events in Dar es-Salaam has come from senior Muslim and Christian clerics alike. Unfortunately, the pattern in too many countries where Christians and Muslims live together is that the Christian population is exterminated -- by going underground, converting, or emigrating -- after decades of bullying, violence, and murder from the religion of peace.