Anglican Chief Asks Mugabe to Stop Attacks on Church

Posted October 10th, 2011 at 2:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The head of the worldwide Anglican church has asked Zimbabwe's president to stop what he calls persecution of church followers in the country.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, met with President Robert Mugabe Monday during a two-day stop in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

Williams said afterward he presented President Mugabe with a dossier describing a list of abuses that include intimidation of local Anglicans and church properties being seized.

He said he and fellow church leaders asked Mr. Mugabe to use his powers to put an end to “unacceptable and illegal behavior.”

A Zimbabwean Anglican bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, split with the church and formed a breakaway faction in 2007.

Since then, supported by a ruling by Zimbabwe's Supreme Court, he and his supporters have seized control of all church properties in Harare, including an orphanage. He has also forced the eviction of nuns and priests who do not recognize his faction.

Kunonga says he was wrongly excommunicated because he opposed homosexuality. But the archbishop maintains the renegade bishop is using this as an excuse for his decision to seize church properties.

Williams is on a three-nation tour of southern Africa. Last week he was in Malawi. He travels next to Zambia before heading home to Britain.