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Ethiopia: Muslim Protest Gaining Momentum

Signs of Ethiopian Muslims activism against government’s meddling in their religious affairs became evident when they took their campaign online in May. As their online activism grows offline, members of Ethiopian Federal Police have started using force against the protesters.

Ethiopian Muslim women. Photo source: Boyznberry Flickr page (CC BY-NC 2.0)

According to local activists Facebook page Dimtsachin Yisema (Let Our Voice Be Heard) physical violence, which includes transgressing sacred places in their mosques, was used against them. An Ethiopian Muslim campaigner and writer Merim Bint Islam posts on her Facebook page with a note:

This is how brutal beatings were done on our brother, yesterday in Awuliya.

Addis News Updates ‏@AddisFocus #Ethiopia'n regime's forces unshamefully confiscated over a hundred animals (oxen) from a Mesjid in Addis which was ready for sadaqa.#Islam

The YouTube video below shows Ethiopian Muslim protestors in April 2012:

Though the actions of the police were reportedly brutal, activists on Facebook page are incessantly advising their fellow Muslims to keep their calm. Ethiopian Muslims Facebook page shared Ahmedin Jebel’s note which reads [amh]:

ሕዝበ ሙስሊም ሆይ! ሰላማዊና ሕገ መንግሥታዊ መብት የማስከበር እንቅስቃሴያችን ከተጀመረበት ጊዜያት ጀምሮ ላለፉት ስድስት ወራት በሚቻለን ሁሉ ሁከት እንዳይነሳ ጥረናል፡፡ ምክንያቱም ሁከት መነሳቱ መቼም ቢሆን ለኛ አይጠቅመንምና፡፡ የተለያዩ አካላት ሁከት ዉስጥ አስገብተውን ሂደታችንን ለማደናቀፍ የሚቻላቸውን ሁሉ ሞክረዋል፡፡ እየሞከሩም ነው፡፡ መንግሥትም ይሁን የትኛውም ወገን ቢተናኮሰን፣ ቢተኩስ፣ ቢያስር፣ መስጂዶች ቢደፈሩም ምላሻችን የችኮላና ህጋዊ ካልሆነ፣ ይበልጥ አላማቸውን የሚያሳካና ሕዝበ ሙስሊሙን ለአደጋ የሚያጋልጥ ከሆነ ለኛ ዉድቀት እንጂ ድል አይደለም፡፡

To All Ethiopian Muslims since the beginning of our movement for the last six months we have strived to keep ourselves away from destructive demonstration as these actions would cancel out our struggle. Different groups have been trying to instigate us to violent actions by their wounding actions. They even transgressed our sacred places but we should stand our ground firmly because if we succumb to their tactics we will become losers.

Meanwhile, Abiye Teklemariam wrote on Facebook:

Activists claim gov't underlings may deliberately stage a fake violent demo. near the AU headquarters to blame it on Muslim protesters.

Political and religious situation in Ethiopia look uncertain as rumors about whereabouts and health of the Prime Minster Meles Zenawi circulate and Muslim protests gain momentum.

Islam is the second-most widely practiced religion in Ethiopia after Christianity.

  • Concerned

    The fuss is the government is forcing the Muslim community to accept some foreign ideology that it brought from abroad. We Muslims are saying we have a right to freedom of believing in whatever we want and we should not be coerced into a belief which we don’t want to be in. And we are asking to let the Ethiopian Muslim council belong to Muslims through democratically elected leaders from the Muslim community. Plain and simple!

  • Recent reports from Ethiopian and International media about social activisim related to Moslem population is worth solid consideration.

    As a matter of reality and in contrast to recent social movements in the Arab world as called  ” The Arab Spring ” with vast and powerful base in Moslem Populations,and with considerable protest tradtion that draws It’s values  and logics from Islam—–The case of Ethiopia and the relevance of Islam as a an Ideological driving force for social change remains out of the question and as impossible as well as far feched.

    Yes It is very true that Islam stood as a great factor for war and social change in It’s early stages as a faith that sought followers by consent or war.Ethiopia holds the great tradtion of hosting the first Diplomats of the Faith as well as the greatest local war that was based on the efforts of Islam for expanstion. However, This facts were never followed by permanent trend and pattern for social conflict or harmony.

    Ethiopia never had nor would have Islam nor other faith alone as a platform for any thing rather than as faith as a pivate or communal affair–be It as a national tradtion nor as an innovation.The wish for contrast nor for immitation  or inspiration from the “Arab Spring”  is far feched and far from reality.

    How many people use the internet in Ethiopia?

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  • Sulto Abda

    Muslim is the religion of peace,but Ethiopian gov’t not undestand this,or not need to those muslim peace by giving the name teriorist. If you take me I participate the conferance given by GOV’T in Colaboration with Majlis in ADAMA UNIVERSITY,Most ISSUES Rised by Gov’t and majlis is to give the muslim unnessary name to attact them.Inadittion they have the Stand to Change Muslim Comunity to Ahbash by name of SUFISM. at that time all muslim oppose this the next Day The police Came.But some pollice oppose Gov’t. AND Release MUSLIM TEACHERS. 

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  • Meryem

    Dear, Yared a I have to ashure U that a single Ethiopian muslim doesn’t ask such A “shit ” question here in Ethiopia.

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