Tigrai Online: Muslim merchants legitimate targets



The Ethiopian government has launched a comprehensive campaign to stamp out the year-long Muslim protests against government interference in religious affairs.

According to the website Tigraionline, the government has deployed an array of potent weapons against the Muslim community.  These weapons include:  tax collection as a pretext to harass Muslim businesses, denial of bank loans and access to land.

Tigraionline is a website closely affiliated with the ruling Tigre liberation front and Ethiopia’s intelligence services.

“Over 50% of Mercato traders are Muslims and they have made huge amounts of money over the years but paid very little tax, “ writes Tigraionline.  Denying new bank loans and harshly enforcing existing ones are among the array of weapons the government is using.  Denying Muslims access to land is also yet another tool the government has actively pursued.

According to Tigraionline, “the government has been taking strong measures …. [against Muslims] and the actions are bearing results.”

The crackdown against Muslim merchants may also be used as an excuse to transfer businesses to a minority ethnic group that controls Ethiopia’s government.

Although the Ethiopian Muslim protest is home-grown, the Tigraionline article entitled “Who is Goading Ethiopian Islamic Militants,” desperately tries to link the movement to violent overseas groups