Religious Leaders Dampen Rising Tension

September 14, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

Religious leaders in northern Mozambique are making attempts to prevent any possible outbreak of communal violence after three mosques were burnt in a matter of weeks in Lichinga, capital of Niassa Province.

The police are investigating arson attacks on the mosques, one of which was set alight last week. The incidents are highly unusual in Mozambique, where religious tolerance is the norm. A suspect has been arrested.

According to local news reports, the suspect has alleged that foreign Catholic individuals are involved in the arson attacks, and the police are trying to establish whether the claims have any veracity.

The Catholic Church has condemned the mosque burnings. "Some in the Muslim community were quite upset of course but realised that, so far, it is only the act of this person," said Father Joaquim Lopez at the Roman Catholic Church in Lichinga.