Ethiopia: Are the Islamists Coming?


By Alemayehu Fentaw

Ethiopia has been swept by Islamic protests in opposition to what the Muslim community calls government-sponsored propagational activities of the little-known Islamic sect known as Al-Ahbash throughout the country and the suspension of the Addis Ababa-based Awaliya Islamic Institute on alleged grounds of promoting Salafism or Wahhabism. A large number of protesters have been detained and some have been met with deadly force by security forces.  The Security forces have reportedly killed four and injured ten Muslims during a confrontation after Friday prayers in Assassa town.[1]

The protesters also accuse the Government of Ethiopia of hijacking the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, or the Majlis. For the protesters, the Majlis has been a puppet of the government with striking parallels to the Holy Synod and Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which proved to be totally subservient. They are demanding to replace the current members of the Majlis by their true representatives through free and fair elections. They are also demanding that the elections should be held in the city’s mosques rather than in the Kebeles, the lower level local government structure, as suggested by the Government.[2]

Islam in Ethiopia

The historical trajectory of Islam in Ethiopia is interesting. For one thing, Islam has a remarkably long history and as such has co-existed with Christianity for much of the country’s history. For another, people converted and reconverted to Islam with much ease in much of Ethiopia for as long as Islam’s history. Islam came to Ethiopia in the year 615 in virtue of the first Hijra with the arrival of the Suhaba, who were at risk of persecution by the Quraysh, on Ethiopian soil following the advice of Prophet Muhammed who instructed them to seek asylum in the Kingdom of Aksum, where a “righteous king would give them protection.”[3] The co-existence and intermingling has remarkably contributed to the culture of inter-faith tolerance among Muslims, Christians, and Jews, which is absent in other parts of the world.

As one of the oldest recipients of Islam, Ethiopia has a significant Muslim community. Although there is a general culture of inter-faith tolerance, the relation between State and Islam had been tenuous. Historically, the Muslim community was disfranchised, particularly in the Christian highlands, as it was excluded from the traditional land-holding system. The Solomonoid emperors considering themselves as lord-protectors of the monophysite faith, i.e., Orthodox Christianity, ignominiously marginalized the Muslim community, thereby relegating them to second-class citizenship.

Despite for a few instances of the rise of Islamic militancy in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries led by Ahmad Badlay, Sabradin, and Ahmed Gran, there has been a long tradition of Islam/Christian tolerance and mutual co-existence for much of the country’s history. In connection with the Yifat under Sabradin, Harold G. Marcus writes, “By the late 1320s, exploiting a decade of royal neglect, Sabradin of Yifat confidently organized a united Muslim front composed of peoples dissatisfied with Christian domination and tired of paying heavy taxes. In 1332, Sabradin declared a holy war against the Solomonic state, invaded its territory, destroyed churches, and forced conversions to Islam.”[4]

The response organized by Amda Siyon to the jihad declared by Sabradin of Yifat was an all-out war. In the words of Marcus:

Calling up troops from all over his empire, Amda Siyon led a bloody campaign against Yifat and its allies. He even took the battle to the lowlands, where imperial armies rarely went, and he lost many soldiers to desertion, disease, and thirst. Still, the king went on, determined once and for all to end the Muslim threat and to replace local governments with imperial officials. He led his forces brilliantly, feinting here, probing there, attacking the weakest units in the Muslim federation, and never permitting his enemy to counter in a mass attack. Pushing his army to the limits of its strength, he even outmaneuvered an enemy that contained units of highly mobile, if fractious, nomads. It was a magisterial effort by a charismatic and resourceful man who also had mastered and united an empire around him. His great victory carried the frontier of Christian power into the Awash valley and beyond.[5]

The next serious Islamic threat to the Christian Kingdom was posed by Ahmad Badlay of Adal. According to Harold Marcus, “The Adal became particularly worrisome in the late 1430s under Ahmad Badlay, an ambitious and ardent leader who exemplified the increasingly militant nature of Ethiopian Islam. Between 1443 and 1445, he directed harsh, if intermittent, campaigns in Ethiopia’s largely Muslim-inhabited provinces before falling in battle in Dawaro.” [6]

Yet the most serious Islamic threat was not to come until the rise of Ahmad Gran in respect of whom Marcus writes, “Adal’s savior was to be Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (1506-1543), known to the Ethiopians as Ahmad “Gran” (the “left-handed”). He soldiered for Sultan Jared Abun of Adal (r. ca. 1522-1525), who during his few years of power sought to impose Islamic puritanism on his fractious people. The righteous road appealed to the pious Ahmad, who was raised by his devout kin in Jeldesa, one of the major oases along the trading route to Zeila. Although his Islam was the most rigorous and doctrinaire, deeply influenced by the discipline of the desert, it was tempered by an understanding of commerce.”[7]

In addition, it is important to note that forced conversion was brought to bear upon the Muslim community. The post Zemene-Mesafint (Era of Princes) period saw the same tendency, as the empire -building process started off by Emperor Tewodros. Boru Meda Council is a case in point for which Emperor Yohannes IV had been hailed as a ‘saint-hero’. According to Donald Levine, “The spread of Christianity and Islam established other kinds of ties. Although conversions were sometimes secured by force, notably in the reigns of Zera Ya’iqob in the 1450s and Yohannes IV in the 1870s and during the jihad of the 1530s, more typically they came about peacefully, through channels opened up by traders and by the need for diplomatic alliances.”[8] Commenting on the Christian/Islam relations, Levine writes, “Relations between the two groups of religionists have often been antagonistic, particularly since the sixteenth century, but there have been numerous kinds of accommodation between them. Since both Islam and Christianity in Ethiopia have been highly syncretistic, moreover their followers have not found it impossible to join in common religious observances.”[9] The empire-building process called not just for the reconciliation of the prevalent doctrinal differences within the established Orthodox Christian church, but also for the unification of faith by stamping Islam out of the face of the Christian empire.[10] Nevertheless, while Emperor Menelik II, following his campaign to Harar, called upon both Muslims and Christians to coexist peacefully, Emperor Haile Selassie recognized Sharia courts.

The Ethiopian Muslim community belongs to Sunni Islam mixed with Sufi tradition, following one of the three Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence (Madh’habs). To wit: (1) the Shafi, (2) Hanafi; and (3) Maliki.[11] Little is known about the 4th Sunni Islamic School of Jurisprudence, namely the Hanbali, in Ethiopia to date. The long de facto existence of Shaira courts in Ethiopia has been accorded legal recognition in 1942 with promulgation of the Proclamation for the Establishment of Kadis’ Courts. This proclamation legitimized the competence of Islamic courts in matters relating to marriage, divorce, gifts, succession and will. It provides that “any question regarding marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship of minors and family relationship provided that the marriage to which the question relates was concluded in accordance with Mohammedan law or when the parties are all Mohammedans shall fall under the jurisdiction of the Shari’a courts.” It further stipulates that the government will appoint the judges including the chief Kadi who was invested with a number of prerogatives ranging from working-out procedures and rendering final decisions in his appellate jurisdiction to attachment and execution. In 1944, the Kadis and Naiba Councils Proclamation No. 62/1944 was promulgated, repealing the earlier proclamation. Under the new proclamation, Shari’a courts were re-established and a new set of courts were introduced. Pursuant to this proclamation, there are three sets of Islamic courts: (1) the Naiba Council; (2) Courts of the Kadis’ Council, and (3) the Courts of Shariat.[12]

However, in 1960 a Western-based Civil code was enacted which purports to repeal Islamic law.[13] Despite the sweeping thrust of the repeal provision, Shari’a courts remain intact and kept on functioning and applying their law independent of the regular state court structure. “The Code” Abdulmalik writes, “remained a purely theoretical work devoid of real value in respect to those matters governed by the Sharia rules despite the fact that those matters were supposed to be ruled by the civil code which automatically would have brought the abrogation of the Sharia’a rules by virute of Art. 3347 (1)” [14]

Nevertheless, since 1995, the new Ethiopian Constitution has extended recognition to the independent validity of Islamic law and the competence of Islamic courts to adjudicate cases concerning personal and family law. In order to execute this constitutional provision the House of Peoples’ Representatives has enacted proclamation No. 188/1999.

Are the Islamists Coming?

So what are the root-causes of the current Islamic upheavals in Ethiopia? What accounts for this phenomenon? Are the Islamists coming? If we are going to fully account for this phenomenon, I believe we need to have a full grasp of both the internal and international factors at play, but that cannot be done within the scope of such a brief paper as this. Given the limitations, what I can do is offer an all-too-sketchy outline of the possible explanations from the viewpoint of domestic as well as international politics.

In domestic politics, the introduction of ethnic federalism has resulted in what I might call, to borrow an expression from Milan Kundera, ‘the unbearable lightness of being’ Ethiopian. Therefore, the inevitable undesired consequence of the constitutional enshrinement of Identity Politics, which extended recognition to ethnic and religious identities in that country rooted in historical interpretations about the marginalisation of non-Amharas and non-Christians (esp. Muslims) by the state, gave rise to the radicalization of particularistic identities such as being Oromo and Muslim to the detriment of universalistic identities like being Ethiopian. In Economics there’s an apt term for this, i.e., spillover effect. The Islamic revivalism of the past two decades is nothing but the logical outcome of the rise of identity politics in the political landscape, but the radicalization is the spillover effect. According to Jon Abbink, “The ‘quest for identity’ is an expression that can be applied to the efforts of Ethiopian Muslims to be recognized, to organize, and to raise their position in the country towards parity with the Christians.” [15]

In international affairs, the US war on terror, and esp. Ethiopia’s position as a key partner in the war on terror, coupled with its legitimate national security concerns vis-a-vis Al-Shabab in Somalia, has placed Ethiopia not only in the unenviable position of desiring to keep extremist elements at bay abroad (across its international frontiers), but also of countering the growing influence of Wahabism at home. Most recently, fear that the Islamists are coming has spread widely due to the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring, thereby creating a further opportunity for regional leaders such as Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to play their role in keeping Islamic fundamentalism in check.  However, what complicates such efforts at analyses is that given Meles Zenawi’s squalid human rights track record, it is hard to rule out the possibility that he might be capitalizing on his international role and thereby engaging in diversionary tactics from domestic politics, and hence garner American support that he could not otherwise achieve.

Having said that, it has to be noted that different governmental actors have been engaged in misguided efforts to counter the growing Wahabi influence in Ethiopia. The first actor is the Government of Ethiopia (GoE). GoE through, more particularly, its Ministry of Federal Affairs, in joint cooperation with the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council or Majlis, has launched, since  July 2011, nation-wide trainings and workshops on peace and religious tolerance targeting the Muslim community. The first training was delivered on the campus of Haramaya University. The Ministry of the Federal Affairs is said to have allocated more than 11,000,000 Ethiopian Birr or 800, 000 USD) for the program. The trainers came from the HQs of the Al-Ahbash in Beirut. Worst of all, the Ministry of Federal Affairs’ continued public engagement in promoting Al-Ahbash at the expense of the traditional sects of the Sunni Islam prevalent in Ethiopia such as Hannafi and Maliki, in clear contravention of the constitutional principle of secularism, which turned out to be unacceptable to the Muslim community, will be seen as an encroachment.

The involvement of the Ministry of Federal Affairs as well as the Regional State Governments has done harm.  Both USG and GoE have failed to comply with the ‘Do No Harm’ principle of conflict prevention and resolution. As a result, the harm has already been done.  The principle of ‘Do No Harm’ imposes minimum obligations on all actors, including donors, not to do harm during intervention in situations of fragility and conflicts. Donors must ensure that they “do no harm” and consider both the intended and unintended consequences of their interventions. Therefore, it would be the responsibility of the governments of both the US and Ethiopia to undo the harm already done.

Another source of interference is the Government of the United States (USG) if the diplomatic cables that came out of the US embassy in Addis Ababa ending up in wikileaks are credible enough to deserve our attention. Recent wikileaked cables have made the security concerns crystal-clear and confirmed ongoing public diplomacy as well as cultural programming efforts sponsored by Embassy Addis Ababa. Three wikileaked diplomatic cables, created on 2009-07-15, and released, on 2011-08-30, originating from Embassy Addis Ababa, entitled, Growing Wahabi Influence in Ethiopia – Amhara Region and the “Jama Negus Mosque”, Wahabism in Ethiopia as “Cultural Imperialism” and Countering Wahabi Influence in Ethiopia Through Cultural Programming discuss Wahabism at length.

According to the first cable, “The newly appointed Council [Majlis] is decidedly anti-Wahabi and speaks openly of their concern about Wahabi missionaries and their destabilizing influence in Ethiopia.”[16]  The same cable also elucidates on the causes of intra-Muslim conflicts in the following terms, “Conflicts within the Muslim community have also arisen over control of mosques, which imams should be allowed to preach, and over control of Islamic education.  The IASC [Majlis] wants to build an Ethiopian Muslim theological school so that young Ethiopian men will not have to go to the Middle East to study in preparation for becoming Imams, as they must now.  These young men are increasingly studying in Saudi Arabia due to the generous scholarships and subsidies available there, and when they return to Ethiopia to take up their posts in new Saudi-funded mosques, they continue to receive subsidies from Saudi Arabia or Islamic NGOs.  Unfortunately, the Sufi-dominated Muslim community in Ethiopia does not have sufficient funds to start their own theological school, nor can they counter the financial advantage Wahabis have in Ethiopia.”[17] It is also interesting to note that the same cable attempts to answer the question of why the US should care about Wahabism in Ethiopia. Elaborating on this question, it takes cognizance of the prevalence of a culture of inter-faith tolerance among the three Abrahamic religions of the country, namely Islam, Christianity, and Judaism as a result of mutual co-existence and the tradition of tolerance in Sufism. The cable claims, however, that “With the advent of Wahabism in Ethiopia, however, this delicate balance is in danger of being upset.”[18] It goes on to claim that “Conflicts have begun first within the Muslim community, but have also begun to spread out to include Christian groups as Wahabis seek to assert themselves on college campuses and in smaller towns outside the capital.  The threat of inter-communal conflict in Ethiopia between Muslims and Christians, as well as between Muslims themselves, can only give a foothold and operating space to Salafist and extremist groups that might seek to exploit the situation.”[19] The cable asserts that “In a shift from past practice, the IASC is now completely purged of Wahabi members. …the Council members acknowledged that the Council is now all Sufi and in their public statements they repeatedly make reference to Ethiopia’s tradition of religious tolerance and co-existence with the Christian communities.  As the Ethiopian government appoints the members of the Islamic Council, it is clear that the GoE shares this concern about growing Wahabi influence and is supporting moderate Muslim leaders in trying to counter that influence.”[20]

At the risk of stating the obvious, it has to be emphasized that it is the Ethiopian Government that has the power to appoint members of the Islamic Council or Majlis that expelled those members whom it thinks were Wahabis. And nowhere is US security interests in the Horn of Africa made clearer than in the second cable, in which Embassy Addis Ababa admits, “Ethiopia’s delicate Muslim/Christian balance and historic attitudes between the faith communities regarding tolerance and mutual respect are being challenged, thereby undermining U.S. interests in the region.”[21] Besides, what can be gathered from the forgoing is the concurrence between USG and GFDRE on the growing Wahabi influence in Ethiopia as not only a national and regional security threat, but also with repercussions to Pax Americana and the need to counter it. And the first cable concludes “Post believes there are ways to counter this growing influence through aggressive cultural programming, as will be outlined in the second and third parts of this series.” But, what does this “aggressive cultural programming” consist in?

The third cable describes the said cultural programming as three-pronged, namely: places, objects, and traditions as they relate to indigenous Muslim communities. The strategy centering on conserving Islamic places, objects, and restoring Ethiopia’s unique Islamic traditions is manifested through preserving its shrines, literature, and rituals as well as providing materials written by Muslim authors that support a more orthodox interpretation of Islam in local languages. This strategy of countering Wahabi influence through cultural programming has been done through such grants and programs as the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant to restore the Sheikh Hussein Shrine in Bale, the Jama Negus Mosque in Wello, the Teferi Mekonnen Palace in Harar, and the Muhammad Ali House in Addis Ababa; Public Affairs Section (PAS) grant to establish an ‘Islamic Manuscript Preservation Center’ at the Teferi Mekonnen Palace in Harar, to the Institute of Ethiopian studies (IES) to purchase several Ethiopian Orthodox icons and Islamic manuscripts that were in danger of leaving the country, to the American Friends of the IES to pay for materials that will be used for the storage and preservation of Islamic manuscripts in Addis Ababa and for teaching Ethiopian experts how to process them, to a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to do an assessment of over 1,000 Islamic manuscripts in Harar and develop a work plan for establishing the Center there; and a PAS grant to send a group of three Harari experts to the Foxfire Fund in Mountain View, Georgia, to learn about developing an oral history program for high school students, and finally providing two books written by a Muslim-American scholar (‘The Place of Tolerance in Islam’ and ‘The Great Theft,’ both by Khaled Abou el-Fadl) in the local languages of Amharic, Oromifa, and Somali.[22]

Two earlier wikileaked cables, created on 2008-11-26, and released on 2011-08-26, confirm that the Embassy’s efforts at having Khalid Abou el-Fadl’s books entitled, ‘The Place of Tolerance in Islam’ and ‘The Great Theft’, translated into Amharic and Oromiffa by Ethiopian Islamic scholars fell through, “because no Muslim translator in Ethiopia is willing to do it fearing Wahabi pressure.” Strange enough, however, the Oromiya Bureau of Culture offered the services of his office to translate and distribute both these books.[23]

Recall also that recently wikileaked diplomatic cables expose how Ethiopian security forces planted 3 bombs that went off in Addis Ababa on September 16, 2006 and then blamed Eritrea and the Oromo Liberation Front for the blasts in a case that raises serious questions about the claims made about the abortive terrorist plot targeting the African Union summit to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[24] By extension, it is not as yet clear about the Khawarij killings that took place in Jimma a few years back. Even if conflicts have arisen between the Wahabis and the Sufis, it has only been very much localized. What I find to be worrisome is the government’s tendency to blow the threat out of proportions. Just a few years back, the ‘T’ word was ‘Khawarij’, now it is replaced by ‘Wahabi’ and ‘Salafi’. It is all the more perplexing to me that in a country such as Ethiopia where the Muslim population is roughly equal with Christians and there isn’t any advocacy for forming an Islamic political party, let alone an existing organized Islamic party vying for public office, how demands for autonomy in religious affairs and governmental non-interference can be construed as a political movement. The declared disavowal of the Muslim community of violence and adherence to non-violent means in its protests so far demonstrate that fear of Islamic threats to Ethiopia is only a figment of Meles Zenawi’s imagination.

In view of the foregoing and its past practice, it seems to me that most of the allegations made by the Government of Ethiopia don’t hold up to scrutiny. For instance, cable news came out of Addis Ababa regarding the expulsion of two Arabs by the AP correspondent and has appeared in many media outlets including Washington Post. But nobody seemed to question its accuracy and truthfulness. The news goes on like this “Ethiopia’s government has expelled two Arabs who flew in from the Middle East after the pair went to a mosque and tried to incite violence.”[25] Neither the names nor the nationalities of these two Arabs were disclosed in the statement made by the Government. How can a government that has incarcerated two Swedish journalists on trumped up charges of terrorism let two Arabs go free while accusing them of inciting violence or has the criminal law changed in an overnight? Would there be any reason why they would not be arrested and tried in a court of law if the charges were true? No reason has been offered so far. So how do we know whether the said Arabs have not just been ordinary tourists?

This is not to deny the legitimacy of the international and domestic security concerns of the two nations, namely the US and Ethiopia, but to question the legitimacy and efficacy of the means used to achieve a legitimate end. If Washington is implicated in Ethiopia’s incursion into Somalia, it is not without good reason. As Terrence Lyons has rightly observed:

Washington’s support for Ethiopia in the recent past has been justified in part by Addis Ababa’s contributions in the global war on terrorism. While Ethiopia has played a supportive role, its policies and actions toward Islamist movements such as al-Itihaad are driven by its own national interests and are not undertaken on behalf of the United States. If Ethiopia sends its forces into Somalia, it may drag Washington into a conflict that will be framed in many parts of the Muslim world as another U.S.-sponsored attack on Islam. Furthermore, the close association of the United States and Ethiopia complicates relationships between Washington and other regional actors, notably Eritrea and a range of Somali groups.[26]

The same holds true of the current Islamic upheavals in Ethiopia. Washington has to put Addis Ababa’s problems in the proper context of the wider problem of the rise of authoritarianism in domestic politics. Ethiopian Muslims have, for much of their country’s history, been peaceful and hence it’d be only be irresponsible to needlessly engage in activities that disturb the equilibrium of co-existence and tolerance maintained between Muslims and Christians in that country.

The only way to go about the ongoing problem is for Addis Ababa to take its hands off Islamic affairs and leave it to the Muslim community and faith-based non-governmental organizations to reach out to the Muslim community.  This again is not to gainsay the right of The Association of Islamic Philanthropic Projects (Jam’iyyat al-Mashari’ al-Khayriyya al-Islamiyya) or Al Ahbash or whatever Islamic sect to operate in Ethiopia provided that it respects the laws of the land. The solution to the problem created by the securitization of Islam and intra-Islamic relations should be nothing but de-securitization of Islam and intra-Islamic relations, not the privileging of one Islamic sect over another and should start out with de-securitization. Except for the few historical instances from the country’s remote past mentioned above, Ethiopia has never been a breeding-ground for Sayyed Qutb- or Al Zawahiri-styled Islamism and there’s little indication that it will ever be, given that the Muslim community continues to enjoy and exercise its freedom of worship without any interference.

Whatever else has been done by Addis Ababa will provide nothing but a recipe for future conflicts. The strategy deployed will most likely backfire, thereby sowing the seeds of political Islam that it seeks to keep at bay.  It is imperative to bear in mind that it is the marginalization and suppression of Muslims by the Ethiopian Christian State in the past that bred extremism. The current interference by the secular tyrant in the internal affairs of the Muslim community won’t help if not to exacerbate the situation. As Mustafa Akyol says, even “Islamists will become only more moderate when they are not oppressed, and only more pragmatic as they face the responsibility of governing.”[27]

NOTES:
[1] Aaron Maasho, Ethiopian Muslims protest government ‘interference’, Reuters, May 11, 2012, Addis Ababa

[2] Peter Heinlein, Ethiopian Government, Muslims Clash about Ideology, Voice of America, May 21, 2012

[3] J. Spencer Trimingham, Islam in Ethiopia, Oxford University Press (1952), p. 44.

[4] Harold G. Marcus, A History of Ethiopia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft109nb00g/, P .21

[5]  Id, P. 22

[6] Id, p. 26

[7] Id, p. 31

[8] Donald N. Levine, Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution a Multiethnic Society (2000), 2nd ed, Chicago and London: the University of Chicago Press, 43-44

[9] Id, 44

[10] Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia: 1855-1974 2nd ed.(Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Press,2001), p.7

[11] J. Spencer Trimingham’s pathbreaking survey, Islam in Ethiopia, 1952, Oxford University Press

[12] Abdul Wasie Yusuf, “Sharia Courts in Ethiopia: Their Status, Organization and Functions” (1971) (Unpublished Snr. Thesis on file at Addis Ababa University Law Library), p. 21-29; for a discussion of the operation and competence of Sharia Courts in present-day Ethiopia, see my book, Legal Pluralism in Contemporary Ethiopia: A Critical Introduction, 2010, LAP, Saarbrucken, Germany.

[13] The Civil Code of Ethiopia, Article 3347 (1), 1960.

[14] Abdulmalik Abubeker, “Effects of Divorce in the Civil Code and the Sheria [Sic] Law” (1990) (Unpublished Snr. Thesis on file at Addis Ababa University Law Library), p. 7.

[15] Jon Abbink, An historical-anthropological approach to Islam in Ethiopia: issues of identity and politics, Journal of African Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Number 2, December 1998, pp. 109-124, p. 110

[16] Growing Wahabi Influence in Ethiopia – Amhara Region and the “Jama Negus Mosque”,

[17] Id

[18] Id

[19] Id

[20] Id

[21] Wahabism in Ethiopia as “Cultural Imperialism”

[22] Countering Wahabi Influence in Ethiopia Through Cultural Programming

[23] Growing Wahabi Influence in Ethiopia Tests the Limits of Tolerance; A Sufi and a Wahabi Sit Down to Lunch

[24] Ethiopia: Recent Bombings Blamed on Oromos Possibly the Work of GOE,

[25] Ethiopia expels 2 Arabs amid tension with Muslim community; gov’t warns group declared jihad, Washington Post, May 5, 2012

[26] Terrence Lyons, Avoiding Conflict in the Horn of Africa: US Policy Toward Ethiopia and Eritrea, The Center for Preventive Action, CSR No. 21, Council on Foreign Relations, December 2006,  p. 29

[27] Mustafa Akyol, Can Islamists Be Liberals? The New York Times, Op-Ed, May 14, 2012, A 21


27 thoughts on “Ethiopia: Are the Islamists Coming?

  1. Tezibt on

    Muslims, Christians and particularly the government need to chill out. Quoting Barack Husein Obama, “when people lose hope, they. Ling to their guns and religion. If Woyane needs to stay alive, it needs to fight corruption, fight extremism wisely, stay out of awolia’s business and restore Ethiopian Slurs. Of course I have witnessed extremism both among Muslims and Christians but repression is worst of all a d probably causes it.

    • anon on

      The Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front is about to turn Ethiopia into another killing field such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. They are about to incite a religious war to stay in power.

      Ethiopia has become the focal point for the US Africa Command — a command that has reportedly moved its headquarters secretly to Ethiopia. The US military is a huge bureaucracy that that has to manufacture wars (such as in Iraq) to stay in business.

      The US military already has bases in Arba Minch in Arsi, Hurso in Harar and several secret prisons throughout Ethiopia.

      As the Wikileaks cables cited by Alemayehu show, the US embassy in Addis Ababa and various government agents are deeply involved in getting Muslims to fight each other in the name of preventing extremism.

      The US is not interested in the suffering of the Ethiopian people. Instead it honors Meles Zenawi, the tormentor in chief of Ethiopia, by inviting him to Camp David. Our people are crying for political freedom and economic justice. But they want to tell us that our problem is Islamic terrorism, and not the ruthless minority regime that has created a repressive police state.

      I fear for my country. I fear what the Woyyane and the US Africa Command are preparing for our people.

      We should be careful not to fall into the trap that has been laid by forces who want to realize their own agenda at the expense of our people.

  2. peace on

    What is worrisome is that, how is it the Orthodox didn’t protest as they were hijacked by governemnt why is the Islam in Ethiopia recognized and have more right to protest and address their concern? Could it be that Evanglelism hijacked Orthodox at the same time to weaken the momentum of Orthodox and many to go out in the name of non interference in Orthodox faith? It has been a while now since Orthodox has been under government. Why are the Muslims voice are being heard and not Orthodox go out in one voice as the Muslims? That is really worrrisome. This tells me Muslims may have more rights than the hijacked Orthodox both by TPLF and Evangelism. Orthodox was feared most than Islam.

    Exactly right, since the power of TPLF, it has made many to consider about ttheir identity as supposed to being Ethiopian and even question Ethiopianism. Thus TPLF opened a can of worm so that for its own greedy reason to be in power, it is evident many Muslims support TPLF and I wonder why? Such will create chaos and confuse Ethiopians therefore now there is no turning back perhaps there might even soon be civil war. Once again the opportunitsts from everywhere will come trying to help the TPLF to stop the civil war, as a result create their own agenda once again. Is TPLF that stupid not seeing this coming? Which is another reason a TPLF afraid of Ethiopian majority should not have been in power in the first place who is ready to sacrifice Ethiopia for its own greedy selfishness.

    The U.S and TPLF involvement for 20 years sleeping with Wahabists themsleves is an agenda to distablize Ethiopia after Somalia and Sudan. It is important to destablize the Horn of Africa to change its geography that is convenient for neoliberalism and neocolonialism. Now they have reason to destablize Ethiopia because there are Wahabists. I am wondering as staunch Islam as Sudan is, yet the world never talks about extremism and Wahabism in Sudan. Does this mean they don’t care in Sudan but they do in Ethiopia and Somalia? How is it that there are no extremists in Sudan as expected, how about in Egypt? This indicates that the U.S is not ready to challenge Sudan or Egypt. Ethiopia has been weakened already by TPLF so it is them next. Indeed Ethiopia has no leaders even from opposition side and Ethiopia is being ridden freely by any groups who want to use her. In fact for the West, Ethiopia is another country to challenge, due to its indpendent hisotry even though not being challenged in terms of like Somalia that it has extremists. For 20 years the West and TPLF tried to radicalize Ethiopia in terms of ethnicity and religion. Still, the momentum is not going as fast as the West and tPLF wants it. In other words the radicalization is not happeneing therefore direct intervention is necessary. So I guess we will soon see civil wars concocted by TPLF, West and Arabs. Way to go!!! If they have forgotten what is written in the bible, “Ethiopia will stretch its hand unto god” indeed, we have god and our faith that will root out anti Ethiopians from the face of the earth. It has been written, so it shall be done.

    Long live Ethiopia!

  3. Good One! on

    Mr Alemayehu , thank you very much for your brief though to the point and well thought analysis on the historical and current situations of Muslim Ethiopians. I really enjoy reading your piece.

    But it would have been even more comprehensive (in my opinion), had you included the definitions of ‘Wahabism’, ‘Salafi’, and ‘Sufi’ “sects” you mentioned. All these terms are today the gambeling cards most dictators are playing with to oppress further the already tightly controlled societies in different parts of the world. Thanks once again.

  4. gudu on

    The main question or questions should be: How much of a damage did the islam of Al-moudi and weyanes did to the unity of Ethiopian people? as we all know Al-moudi never came to Ethiopia for the best of the Ethiopian interest but to spread wahabisim in Ethiopia and possibly the entire horn of Africa. At the end of the day Al-moudi, Abebe/legesse/melesse, and his other boss Mebrahtu G/hiwot must face the justice of the Ethiopian people and serve time together in the same cell in Kaliti prison; those days are approaching and Susan Rice mini skirt may not be big enough to hide all three at same time.

  5. Lemlem on

    Interesting. The core question is as to why revolutions and social change take place whether camouflaged in peasant uprisings, student uprisings, military uprisings, region based uprisings, ethnic based uprisings, religious up risings, etc.

    Generally the simple answer is lack of democracy and equality that treats all citizens on equal bases inorder to empower them each every one and have control on matters that directly concerns them. Ongoing peaceful transition to increasing justice for all is the answer. The islamic community’s dissatisfaction is part and parcel of the current Ethiopian demand for democratic change because we don’t want any society being dictated by any religion.

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”~John F. Kennedy (35th president of US 1961-1963 (1917 – 1963)

  6. Anonymous on

    I wonder about you Al-Amoudi, who are you with? Have you sided with the tyrant because of money? Have you chosen to be quiet and watch your fellow Muslims getting slaughtered for asking for their Human Rights?

    Woyanes cannot hide from their crimes; the heartless Dictator and his cronies came to power to divide and rule, loot and kill Ethiopians and dismantle Ethiopia. From the top to bottom all TPLF members have proven to be coldblooded killers, professional thieves and have been committing crimes against Ethiopians for the last 22 years. Unless the ruthless dictator and his puppets removed from power by force, the senseless crimes on our country, on our Ethiopian Christians and Muslims brothers and sisters will continue!

  7. abbay on

    we don’t need religon based freedom for islam Ethiopian or christian Ethiopian. regardless of our faith background we r Ethiopians and we desreve democracy and unity so let’s fight together and get back our diginity. thank u

  8. Deema Dunna on

    Thank you for trying to say something relating to the current persecution of Ethiopian Muslims, by a small group of ethnic based entity in Ethiopia. What the Ethiopian Muslims are experiencing right now and the disregard for the sanctity of Mosques and Muslim establishments is unparalleled in the Ethiopian history. For first time in Ethiopian history, it is under this regime that security forces entered mosques and churches to shoot right in to worshipping crowds. It can be recalled that on February 21, 1995 Meles’s security forces entered Anwar Mosque in Addis Ababa and killed more than nine people and injured scores. Following the killing his forces assassinated well known Muslim elders and scholars, some in front of their families and imprisoned many for years. The killing in Arsi also happened by shooting people praying in the mosque and near the vicinity of the mosque in Assasa.
    Following the massacre in Arsi, the killing and mass arrest of innocent Ethiopians because of a ‘crime’ of being a Muslim has continued in earnest. The daily detention and beatings, and torture coupled with the desecration of mosques by every level of official of the Meles regime in every city, in every town and every urban and rural Ethiopia is has continued. It now looks that any EPRDF police officer, any EPRDP cadre, any EPRDF security official and militia is given full freedom and license to kill, detain, or torture any Muslim at based on any kind of lame excuse. Mosques are being desecrated by security by the Meles with their shoes on, and sealed at will
    This regime, a control freak determined to regiment every sphere of our life, even our faith (Christian and Islam) under its Doctrine of the Revolutionary Democracy. It is in order to achieve this objective over Ethiopian Muslims that the EPRDF employed Ahbash, under the guise of fighting extremism. First of all, there is this mystic claim that ‘Ahbash is a moderate and peaceful sect’. Oh my God, ‘Yemilushin Bawakish Gebeya Balwatash’. Ahbash is the most violent, political entity in the name of religious sect, has served as instrument to Dictators, among them Bashar AlAssda of Syria and its Baath Party. Ahbash has played a critical role in running Syrian security agencies for the killing, torture and disappearance of thousands by the Bath Party and Assad. In cooperation with Hezbullah, it had been instrument in sustaining the occupation and dominance of Syria’ Bashar Assad, in Lebanon. Ahbash has a well trained armed with heave automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Its two leading figures are implicated in the assassination of the moderate Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Harirti. It also threatened to kill and bomb catholic schools in Lebanon. It is not a secret that it is supported mainly by Bashar Al Assad and Israel, the latter which wants the rebalance of power in Lebanese politics, not because it is peaceful. (Do not forget that Hezbollah was created and supported by Israel). As a result some Israeli scholars are given assignment to portray Ahbash as peaceful.
    Finally, Every Ethiopian Muslim or Christian must be aware of where our country is going and act now.

  9. Anon on

    Dear Alemayehu,

    Thank you for a well thought out, balanced article.

    The Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front is about to turn Ethiopia into another killing field such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. They are about to incite a religious war to stay in power.

    Ethiopia has become the focal point for the US Africa Command — a command that has reportedly moved its headquarters secretly to Ethiopia. The US military is a huge bureaucracy that that has to manufacture wars (such as in Iraq) to stay in business.

    The US military already has bases in Arba Minch in Arsi, Hurso in Harar and several secret prisons throughout Ethiopia.

    As the Wikileaks cables cited by Alemayehu show, the US embassy in Addis Ababa and various government agents are deeply involved in getting Muslims to fight each other in the name of preventing extremism.

    The US is not interested in the suffering of the Ethiopian people. Instead it honors Meles Zenawi, the tormentor in chief of Ethiopia, by inviting him to Camp David. Our people are crying for political freedom and economic justice. But they want to tell us that our problem is Islamic terrorism, and not the ruthless minority regime that has created a repressive police state.

    I fear for my country. I fear what the Woyyane and the US Africa Command are preparing for our people.

    We should be careful not to fall into the trap that has been laid by forces who want to realize their own agenda at the expense of our people.

  10. Yedebreberhanu on

    What are you talking about? They are already there.WAKE UP dude

  11. Nebula on

    I do not know where you live. But you do not need to write all these about the islam. Let me tell you what I know. Islam ( Wahabi) oriented islam has a grand grand project. The grand grand project which has been running for many decades is only known to Muslims only. Those secrets are only shared among dedicated muslims. You cannot find the hidden islamic project. No prof. from any university has any knowledge about it. The project; building an islamic nation. An islamic nation is the entire world. To build an islamic nation, the first step is to transform all non-islamic states into islamic states. That means all governments in the world has to be islamic like Saudi Arabia. The model of islamic state and islamic nation is Saudi Arabia. You may not believe me, islamicist Jamatists are working day and night to transform the whole Europe, the whole North America into islamic states. You may think this comment can not be true? but I am telling you from inside and this is the deep deep secret of Arab islam. Ethiopia is seen as the only strong hold of Christianity and they are pouring a huge amount of money in using the Wahabism. Pour Ethiopians are giving to islam for exchange. I am not pro Ethiopian government. Actually the Ethiopian government is stupid government that is weakening the Ethiopian orthodox. It is subjecting the people of Ethiopia to a deadly danger. The islamic project on the run is not about torelance. The project of building islamic states is about how to get rid of other religions and make the world an islamic states. There is tolerance, democracy, dialogue, understanding in pure islam. You accept islam with no question or you die. That is it. You have no choice. The American muslims are better than Saudi Arabia and so and bla bla bla is ignorance of non-muslims. Muslims in America are pretending as they are different because they do not have power. But they are building their future. The future is not Europe, America, but the future according to Muslims is an islamic nation. A world of muslims only. That is it. Do not waste your time writing zigzag.

    • Anonymous on

      Which planet are you living? This comment is as rubish as conspiracy theory websites

    • Bekele on

      “Those secrets are only shared among dedicated muslims. You cannot find the hidden islamic project. No prof. from any university has any knowledge about it. The project; building an islamic nation. An islamic nation is the entire world.”

      You should cut on that ganja consumption; it is increasing your level of paranoia.

  12. T.Gebregzi@gmail.com on

    Ethiopians are qualified enough to bringback this bad situation,in the first place this government must be,like apartheid south Africa dismanteled,Ethiopia needs this time people like Stev Biko in the 70s God bless his saul,religion to me it is a way to do good,have you not seen both christians and moslims together in the grand mosqe which is no far from a christian church Raguel,I saw to day in a movie reclam,going back to the past to save the future,with all the respect I have for the United States,they can not lead or interfer in an old nation,again back to Stev Biko,he said thet we are a peculiar people not people who fight with each other,when I was a kid students from Dessie came to Mekelle to play foot ball with the students of Mekelle,the star player was a student called Ali from Dessie,all the students from Mekelle shouted Ali,as a person who loves to see great foot ball game it was one of my happiest time,I thank my God too that I love true and chrismatic christians and love moslims,taht is all,conquering lion of the tribe of Judha can never die,the rasta man say ever living,it is what you think,call it to thinkfor all Ethiopians,Amharans,Tigreans, Oromans,Christian and Moslims have died for this country,the Moslims must thank God for this country is bledded by God,shame to Meles that he can not see taht the only thing that can save the Tigreans is God,I have a dream,it is a dream of the whole opressed people,God bless all the nations of the world.

  13. Mahlet on

    ሚኒስትሩን የዘለፈችው ሙስሊም ወጣት፤ በደህንነቶች በደረሰባት አሰቃቂ ድብደባ ህይወቷ ማለፉ ተነገረ

    ግንቦት ፲፭ (አስራ አምስት) ቀን ፳፻፬ ዓ/ም

    ኢሳት ዜና:-የፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ሚኒስትሩን ስብሰባ ላይ የዘለፈችው ሙስሊም ወጣት፤ በደህንነቶች በደረሰባት አሰቃቂ ድብደባ ህይወቷ ማለፉ ተነገረ።

    ይህ አሳዛኝ ዜና ይፋ የሆነው፤የብዙሀኑ ሙስሊም አስተባባሪ አካል የሆነው “ድምፃችን ይሰማ” ኮሚቴ ፦አሳዛኝ የግፍ ዜና”በሚል ርዕስ ያሰራጨው መረጃ ነው።

    በቅርቡ የፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ሚኒስቴር የሙስሊሞችን ጥያቄ በተመለከተ ከየክፍለ-ከተማው ሰዎችን በመምረጥ ስብሰባ አካሂዶ እንደነበር ያወሳው ኮሚቴው፤በዚሁ ስብሰባ ላይ ከኮልፌ ክፍለ-ከተማ ሁለት ወንዶች እና ፍርዶስ የተባለች ወጣት ሴት መሳተፋቸውን አመልክቷል።

    ስብሰባውን ሲመሩ የነበሩት ሚኒስትሩ ዶክተር ሽፈራው ተክለማርያም ብዙሀኑን ሙስሊም ያስተባብሩ ዘንድ በተመረጡት የኮሚቴ አባላት ላይ አስፀያፊ እና ድንበር ዘለል ንግግሮችን ሲደጋግሙ መደመጣቸውን የጠቀሰው ኮሚቴው፤የሰውዬውን ዘለፋና ስድብ መሸከም ያቃታት እህት ፍርዶስ የእልህ ሲቃ እየተናነቃት ሚኒስትሩን ዘልፋ የስብሰባ አዳራሹን ለቅቃ መውጣቷን አብራርቷል።

    ከአዳራሹ ወጥታ በ አቅራቢያው ወዳቆመቻት ቶዮታ ቪትዝ የግል መኪናዋ በመግባት ወደመጣችበት ለመመለስ መንቀሳቀስ እንደጀመረች በሁለት ላንድክሩዘር መኪኖች የሞሉ ደህንነቶች ተከትለው በማስቆም እሷንም፤መኪናዋንም ይዘው መሰወራቸውን ኮሚቴው አጋልጧል።

    “ከዚያም እህታችን ፍርዶስን በሚያሰቅቅ እና በሚዘገንን መልኩ በኤሌክትሪክ “ሾክ”እያደረጉ አቃጠሏት” ያለው ኮሚቴው፤በዚህም ምክንያት ወጣት ፍርዶስ ወዲያውኑ መናገርም፤መንቀሳቀስም ማቆሟን ገልጿል።

    እንደ ድምፃችን ይሰማ መግለጫ፦ደህንነቶቹ በፍርዶስ ላይ የተጠቀሰውን የጭካኔ ድርጊት ከፈፀሙባት በሁዋላ ከነ መኪናዋ መኖሪያ ቤቷ በሯ ላይ ጥለዋት ሄደዋል።

    በሁኔታው ከፍተኛ ድንጋጤ ላይ የወደቁት የፍርዶስ ቤተሰቦች ልጃቸውን ለመታደግ ሩጫ መጀመራቸውን የጠቀሰው ኮሚቴው፤ሆኖም የደረሰባት ጉዳት እጅግ ከባድ በመሆኑ ጥራታቸው ሁሉ ከንቱ መቅረቱን ነው ያመለከተው።

    በሆነው ነገር ልባቸው በሀዘን የደማው የፍርዶስ አባት የልጃቸውን ህይወት ለማትረፍ ከፍተኛ ወጪ በማውጣት ለህክምና ወደ ሳዑዲ ዐረቢያ ይዘዋት ቢሄዱም፤ ደህንነቶቹ ባደረሱባት የኤሌክትሪክ ቃጠሎ በርካታ አካሎቿ ከጥቅም ውጪ በመሆናቸው ወጣት ፍርዶስ እስከወዲያኛው ተሰናብታለች።

    የከፋው አሳዛኝ ነገር የወጣት ፍርዶስ ህይወት ማለፉን ተከትሎ ወላጅ እናቷ በደህንነቶች ታፍነው መወሰዳቸው ነው ይላል ኮሚቴው።

    ወላጅ እናቷን አፍነው የወሰዷቸውም የፈፀሙት አሰቃቂ ግፍ እንዳይሰማባቸው ለማድረግ በማሰብ ነው ብሎ እንደሚያምን የድምጻችን ይሰማ ኮሚቴ ገልጿል።

    መምህር የኔሰው ገብሬ ፦”ፍትህ በሌለበት አገር መኖር አልፈልግም”በማለት ራሱን ማቃጠሉን ተከትሎ የደህንነት አባሎች ፦”መረጃ እንዳትሰጥ”በሚል እህቱን በመኖሪያ ቤቷ አፍነው ማስቀመጣቸው ይታወሳል።

    ወጣት ፍርዶስ እሷን እና ጓደኞቿን እላፊ እየተናገሯቸው የነበሩትን የፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ሚኒስትሩን በንዴት በመዝለፏ ሳቢያ በኤሌትሪክ ሾክ እየተደረገች እንድትሞት መደረጉን የሰሙ እትዮጵያውያን፤ሰሞኑን ጋዜጠኛ አበበ ገላው ፦ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስን የተቃወማቸው ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ እየተካሄደ ባለ ስብሰባ ላይ ቢሆን ኖሮ ምን ሊያደርጉት ይችሉ እንደነበር መገመቱ ቀላል ነው ብለዋል። ኢሳት የሟቹዋን ቤተሰቦች ለማነጋገር አደረገው ጥረት አልተሳካለትም። የኢትዮጵያ መንግስትም በጉዳዩ ዙሪያ የሰጠው አስተያየት የለም።

  14. Anonymous on

    Just for the record: Grang’s mother, a christian, was raped by locals and it was her who persuaded her son to go after the christians. Likewise, Yodit “Esat” Gudit (said to be a good person) was abused by locals, where she too rose against the Christians. What these two mass murderers could not care to differentiate was – in Ethiopia and most other countries exist the Christians, Muslims (Ahzabs) and Pagans (Aremenes) – but the two rather opted to take it on the Christians instead out of jealousy/envy because the Christians were higher office occupiers, refined and cultured people. The folks who abused Grang’s mother and Yodit were most likely Aremenes. Grang besieged the country for 15 burning years. Yodit and her Fara successors, after slaughtering 400 princesses in a surprise overnight attack, put the country to sleep for 40 dark years. The Turks who helped Grang invade our country have bigger ego than Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries combined. Turkey is on the move again. The 17th economy of the world and a NATO member, if the recent story of Fethullah Gulen is any indicator, Turkey will reintroduce the Ottoman Empire to Sodom and Gomorah countries infatuated with same sex issues. Turkey pays more money to NBA caliber basketball players (short-term contract) than America – Go Thunders!. As Vice President Joe Biden shockingly found out on his visit to Turkey several months ago (they told him Turkey is better economically than the U.S – it was confrontation actually), Ethiopia too will be in the crossroads and crosshairs of Turkey’s ambitions.

    When the Baath Party took command of Syria
    in 1963, its leaders intended to centralize control of the economy, much as Stalin did in Russia or Mao in China. But it didn’t work. The Alawite ethnic and religious minority, which eventually assumed leadership of the party, was made up of poorly educated people from mountain villages who “knew nothing about running a country or an economy,” says Joshua Landis, a pre-eminent Syria watcher and a professor at the University of Oklahoma. The
    Alawites , he notes, had been given a role by the French colonial government in the military precisely because they had few ties to the majority Sunnis in the big cities: “They were very unsophisticated, and they didn’t have a deep community of cosmopolitan people from which to draw.” So Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president, allowed a handful of wealthy Sunni and Christian businesspeople to continue running their own factories, shops and restaurants. His son, Bashar, came to power in 2000 and opened up the country a bit more, allowing entrepreneurs with no regime connections to start their own businesses (as long as they gave the government a cut). Some opened boutique hotels or small-scale factories; others imported things like hospital equipment or auto parts. Anything American has been especially popular, one Syrian trader told me. In 2001, Bashar sought membership in the World Trade Organization (still pending), and three years later, Syria had its first private banks. There’s even a modest stock market now, the Damascus Securities Exchange, where wealthy Syrians can buy shares in a couple dozen companies, most of them banks or insurance firms. This entrepreneurial openness in the cities, however, coincided with a multiyear drought, which has made the miserable conditions of Syria’s farmers even worse. Those who couldn’t make ends meet in the fields moved to crowded suburban slums or to poorer, second-tier cities. The uprisings began in these areas, and they’re where most of the violence is today. From the outside, it can be hard to see how Assad keeps his grip on the country. In Egypt and Tunisia, powerful militaries ditched their political leaders when they saw a coalition of urban middle class and wealthy people joining poor, rural protesters. But in Syria, the military is far more loyal to the political leaders. And even though the urban elite may not like the Assad regime, and even though they realize that life would be better in a country that doesn’t stifle free expression or support radical political elements in neighboring Lebanon, they’re afraid of what their lives would look like in a revolution’s chaotic aftermath.

    The Syrian Paradox May 2010, NYT.

  15. Lofer on

    The divide and conquer strategy of Meles Zenawi is not going to work on Ethiopian Muslims at all. We muslims will not be Meles’s puppets that he can order us any way he wants. .Meles have been slowly but surely tried to manipulate us for decades but did not succeed
    For example on February 16th, 2008 three prominent muslim journalists were arrested.
    1.Editor of Al-Qudus weekly Newsletter, Ato Ezedin Muhammed along with
    \2. Ato Ezedin’s wife W/o Maria Qadi Abafita, and
    3.editor and owner of Salafiyya Newsletter Ato Ibrahim were arrested ..

    Ato Ezedin and W/o Maria were taken by about 10 security personnel from their home.� Their computers, camera, Printing materials and other relevant accessories were also taken by Police.

    Ato Ibrahim was picked up as he left a Mosque; he was then driven to his home where all his production materials were also confiscated. According to the family of Ato Ibrahim, the security personnels who arrested�hem are from Addis Ababa Police.

    As per internal sources, the reason for their arrest is their reporting of the developments in the draft regulation the Ministry of Regulation prepared and for their insistence to keep the Muslims aware thereof. They have also published the letter alleged to be written by Ato Elias Rediman.�In this letter Ato Elias called for the security to�take severe measure against those elements who oppose the new regulation from being implemented in its present state.

  16. Anonymous on

    Thank you Alemayehu for this brilliant and bold article. You drove your point home. The next US administration should re-calibrate its relations with Ethiopia and maybe better replace it by Kenya if Ethiopia continues to systematically violate the rights of its citizens. We all know that Ethiopian Muslims are peace-loving, patriotic, and put the interests of their country first. The rest is Meles Zenawi’s conspiracy.

  17. Kebede on

    I am not sure what the author talking about however Islam expanded in Ethiopia by force and when Mohammed Grange open war in Ethiopia the people has two choice convert or die, we should be careful unless you want to destory Ethiopa for once and for good…misguided revolutionaries already destory Ethiopia and this is another one…

  18. Anonymous on

    It is nice to read all these comments,you learn a lot,I can only say thank you every body,with out people like you,there was no hope for our peoples in Ethiopia,Birtkuan said in one of her s her speech that what you are doing is important,you have seen the film Monte christo count,courage and hope,it is time we respect each other for it is not we as people,but God who loves honest people,I thank God as a preacher once said God give a second chance,I thank him for his mercy,the Israelits after coming back from Babilon you know what is written in the bible about that time in the history of Israel,they were fighting,building Jerusalem and praying for help from their God,I will remember you in my prayer.

  19. Gogol on

    #11.Nebula,

    You really don’t need to repeat to us about the fact that a segment of the Islmaic faith like the Wahabists, very actively ruling in Saudi Arabia are trying to impose its unilateral version of islamist world faith through first converting nations and countries in to Islam. This is NO news by all means because both Christianity and Islam have been excatly trying to do that for the last some 2000 years, I mean since their very creation in the Middle East by Christ and Mohammed.

    Religions by themselves are not problems in as much as they strive to take care the sipiritual, moral, and physical welbeing and welfare of their faith communities.

    But the fundamental and core problem is the fact that brutal hedonists and medieval type inhuman tyrants highjack the peoples religions, converting it in to their instruments of manipulation, hypnotization, domination, brainwashing and exploiting the unsuspecting massess of people so that the epeople lose the power of resistance and give up their rights and the rights to their nature give scarce human and material resources, instead accepting death dehumanizations as well as a life of hell and total agony on earth. Even in saidi Arabia it is not that the ruling family loves Wahabism for the sake of loving it and an end in itself, but only because Wahabism hypnotizes the ordinary Saudis and help the royal family to have total monopoly over political, economic, social, etc. powers. So, please don’t touch the chicken that lays the beautiful GOLDEN EGGS for the Kings, princes and their followers.

    And then again, when resources in the Saudi Arabian peninsula begin be diminishing, Wahabism needs to get exported and strengthed so that the population those other areas get more and more hynotized in order to surrender their resources to land grabbers and other fortune hunters. In this regard both christianity and Islam behave exactly the same. “If you fall down and kiss the ground and stand up from there and raise your hands and head in order to prais the heavenly father above, you are excellent model people just like Angels. Else you are too bad devil deserving to be starved to death” is the attitude. The idea is that “You are either with us or against us.”

    Regarding Ethiopian muslims, I am very proud to see that they are very measured and rational cool minded black Africans who are interested to be manipulated by cunning Arab rulers. Who committed genocide in Sudan other than the so called ruling “Arabs” in Khartuom on their fellow Muslims in Darful. THere you can see the fact that conflicts are NOT actually about religion but about power with which they want to control wealth and money. :)

    • Alula on

      Thank you for your pure reason. I appreciate such mellowed and response based on pure reason. But I disagree the comparism between christianity and islam. You can read the book called the Sacred West. The book exposes the trio: Judiam, Christianity, Islam. They all have of their own problems. But Islam stands out completely different. You can tell me any theory,but I will not agree with you.Life the best teacher. Islam is rooted on the doctrine that other religions must not be allowed to exist. Yes, Christian will do all they can to convert you directly and directly? but Killing is not one of them. Islam believes Kafirs who do not accept Islam must be put to the sword. Forget about the human nature conflict that is exist in every religion. I am talking Islam does not permit other fellow humans to exist. Judgment is done on earth. Life in Islam is a real as in Suadi Arabia, the holy land of Islam where islamic tenet is anchored. If you are Foreign and found having an Arab muslim girl friend, they chop your dick or stone you to death. You are not allowed to practice any faith than islam in Saudi Arabia. That is the model. We are witnessing all over the world Muslim cutting heads, stoning people to death. I do not understand how can you compare Islam and Christian? This is really defaming christianity. Where is Christian stone women to death? where is Christian cut the head of people? where is that Christian discriminate like Islam? Can you not see the Catholics building clincs, hospitals, schools,… wherever they can? where do you see Islam doing that? All they do is build mosques only. That is it. Even Islamic NGOS do not support non-muslims. If you are not Muslim they tell you we only help muslims. That is it. We do we need to pretend. You do not have gloss over the truth to be accommodating to Muslims. Tell the truth that will benefit all humans regardless race, religion, creed, colour and etc. Do not try to compare a fig tree and a thistle tree?

      • SPECIAL BREED /SINGAPORIAN on

        I agree. While I agree any religion should be allowed to practice freely,the notion , that ISLAM IS A PEACEFUL RELIGION, stated by George w. BUSH..I am surprised he said it with a straight face.

  20. koster on

    There is only state terrorism in Ethiopia lead by fascist Meles Zenawi. The WEST is trying to negate Newton`s law which states for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – breed “friendly tyrants” like fascist Meles Zenawi who terrorizes their people in the name of development and fighting terrorism. The “terrorist” (according to terrorist Meles Zenawi) Ethiopian hero journalist ABEBE GELAW terrorized the real terrorist fascist Meles Zenawi at the G8 meeting in Washington DC. How long can one cheat and terrorize, what is development if it is not benefitting its people, what is development without freedom. Please learn from past mistakes and say no to state terrorism. Practice what you preach. You talk of peace while at the same time promte war. War and famine are great businesses for fascist Meles and he is an expert in looting AID and AIDS money for years.

  21. Gogol on

    Correction

    to #11.Gogol last paragraph which must read, “…Regarding Ethiopian muslims, I am very proud to see that they are very measured and rational cool minded black Africans who are NOT interested to be manipulated by cunning Arab rulers. Who committed genocide in Sudan other than the so called ruling “Arabs” in Khartuom on their fellow Muslims in Darful. THere you can see the fact that conflicts are NOT actually about religion but about power with which they want to control wealth and money.” :)

    Here I mean that black Ethiopian Muslims are NOT interested to be manipulated by cunning Arab rulers but instead are interested in struggling for their rightful democratic rights and justice.

  22. SPECIAL BREED /SINGAPORIAN on

    While my main concern is the safety and co-excistence of all religion, in my observation ,the religion Islam and secular governments can not co-excist where Islam has an upper hand or equal power. And when the writer states that ,”moderate Islam prevails when Islam religion is respected .I agree with the part that any religion should be respected….however it does not mean ..it will solve the problem ,specially ..the ISLAM religion.To make my case ,I need a good sized book…however ,Let us take example of Turkey .The people chose a islamist ,..the military reversed it..Turkey is very advanced European country…let us also see Egypt “Arab spring/winter”..Who are they electing.The religion is the govt.,and it should be ISLAM, period.Whether it is a PHD holder or a camel sitter..it does not make change..in Ethiopia /Eritrea the co-excistence was like a fire covered by ashes. HIV WILL ALMOST ALWAYS PROGRESS IN TO FULL BLOWN AIDS.IT IS AN OXYMORON ,THE TERM “moderate Islam”…it is like saying a little bit pregnant !!!

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