News / Africa

    Ethiopian Muslims Stage Eid Protests

    Ethiopian Muslims attend prayers during Eid al-Fitr, Addis Ababa Aug. 8, 2013.
    Ethiopian Muslims attend prayers during Eid al-Fitr, Addis Ababa Aug. 8, 2013.
    Reuters
    Muslims in Ethiopia protested in the capital Addis Ababa during Eid al-Fitr prayers on Thursday, part of a two-year-old campaign against what they say is government interference in their religious affairs.
     
    A heavy police presence around the city's stadium — the venue for morning prayers — marked a tense run-up to the Muslim holiday after clashes between Muslims and police killed up to five people last week in Ethiopia's south.
     
    Demonstrators chanted "Allahu Akbar" and hoisted banners that read "respect the constitution," referring to allegations that the government has tried to influence the highest Muslim affairs body, the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council.
     
    Ethiopia, long seen by the West as a bulwark against militant Islam in the Horn of Africa, denies the claims but says it fears militancy is taking root in the country.
     
    "These were Salafist elements who tried to create disturbances as the crowd went back to their homes," government spokesman Shimeles Kemal told Reuters, referring to the ultraconservative brand of Islam followed by al Qaeda.
     
    "They have no following among the population but still tried to make it look like a protest. A few have been arrested."
     
    Muslims make up about a third of the population in the majority Christian nation of 85 million, and the vast majority follow the moderate, Sufi version of Islam.
     
    Some have been staging mosque sit-ins and street protests in the capital for almost two years. They accuse the government of promoting an "alien" branch of Islam — the Al Ahbash sect — which is avowedly apolitical.
     
    The government denies that, and protesters' allegations that authorities tried to rig elections to the Islamic council earlier this year.
     
    Shimeles said the protesters aimed to set up an Islamic state in the country and were bankrolled and guided by "extremists" overseas.
     
    Thursday's incidents followed clashes in Kofele in Ethiopia's Oromiya region, where government officials said Muslims wielding machetes and arms clashed with police, killing police officers and civilians. The protesters blamed the authorities for the incident.
     
    Last year, police arrested 29 members of a committee that called for protests, accusing them of "planning to commit terrorist acts."
     
    Amnesty International urged Ethiopia on Thursday to end "its use of repressive tactics" against the demonstrators.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Michael Adane
    August 10, 2013 7:09 AM
    A correction on the reality check from Oakland it is not the whole Friday. It is about 2 hours after lunch break that public offices closed. The Muslims gave credit to this development. This itself enabled the ruling party to silence the Ethiopian Muslims when the ruling party was appointing cadres as their leaders for almost 2 decades. The Muslims begin to protest when these cadres were ordered and begin to enforce the Habash sect of Islam on them. The world has to understand that inspite of the governments principle of divide and rule, the Ethiopian Muslims are very moderate and liberal. The danger is extremists can emerge as the supression and the acampanying governement propaganda continues. The Muslims case is just a glimpse of the diverse suppression of freedom in the country. Do not forget that dozens of journalists and oppostion leaders are in exile or in prison. Recently A European Union deligation was denied access to visit prisoners of conscience in the Ethiopian 'prison village' in the outskirts of Addis Ababa. There are hardly any free civic organizations in Ethiopia. Please, read reports from US state department; Amnesty International, Human rights watch, CPJ, etc.
    In Response

    by: Muna
    August 10, 2013 1:56 PM
    Michael, are you kidding? Meanwhile in Muslim countries, Christian women have to hide their cross necklace or they get beaten by religious police!

    by: Dawit from: Oakland, CA
    August 09, 2013 7:31 PM
    Reality check, Christian majority Ethiopia closes all public offices EVERY FRIDAY as respect for Muslim holy prayers. Who else does that?

    But radicals satisfied only with Sharia law for everyone.

    by: asena from: frankfurt
    August 09, 2013 6:40 PM
    The Ethiopian government must continue to oppress the Muslims. They are dangerous, extremists, abusive, secretive, controlling. The last thing we need is al-Qaeda based government because we listened to AMNESTY(for profit) organization that does not even care on bit about Ethiopia. Remember, it has it's own policy! and Ethiopia isn't one of them. Fanatical muslims along with Negaso and his diaspora friends are all culprits.
    In Response

    by: abduLLAHİ from: addisABABA
    August 17, 2013 6:13 PM
    we ETHİOPİAN MUSLİMS ARE LİVİNG WİTH CHRİSTİANS FOR CENTURİES WİTH LOVE ,PEACE. THE PROTEST İS BEİNG HELD TO PROTECT OUR RELIGION FROM THE NEW SECT AHBASH WHICH IS BROUGHT FROM LİBANOS. THE İSSUE TO ELECT OUR MUSLİM İMAMS AND MEJLİS BY OURSELVES FROM OURSELVES FOR OURSELVES. ASKING THIS RIGH IS NOT BEING A TERRORIST.
    In Response

    by: Ethiopic from: USA
    August 13, 2013 11:16 AM
    When a Muslim demands his rights be respected, he is a terrorist. I guess you are used to being looked down at, insulted, subjugated and called as an "ouslander" in Frankfurt. Don't forget nearly half of Ethiopia's population is Muslim whether you like it or not. Muslims have every right to the country as their Orthodox brothers and sisters and the others with different beliefs.

    by: Munir A. from: Glasgow
    August 09, 2013 5:27 PM
    Amnesty International $1 million corrupt pay-off bonuses using "non-profit" money revealed long ago by UK's Daily Mail. Hypocritical fundraising machine, period.


    by: Challa from: juba
    August 09, 2013 4:52 PM
    It is funny. Ethiopian government tries to defend the political problems by mixing human right with terrorism. They demonstrate for free religious practice, nothing else. anybody who comes against the government is terrorist. But they knows that they get support from US. No worries, our enemy is US who pretend to support us but killing the vital areas: democracy and freed dome of speech. But why USA is doing on us and Africa?
    In Response

    by: asena from: frankfurt
    August 18, 2013 12:09 AM
    Because the USA has policy. To keep that area stable no matter what. Ethiopia is a US puppet. There are US, UN and CHINA puppets. No country has more power than these two along with UN. Its all about policy,

    by: Wosen from: Europe
    August 09, 2013 4:44 PM
    I have never supported the current rebel government. But when I heard this extremism "fire" expanding southwards from North Africa to Ethiopia, I got really worried. I urge everyone to realize that this is like playing with fire. No boko haram please! We Ethiopians, are a different bred to the Nigerians. Because we are all proud and patriotic people, and we are first Ethiopians and then Christians or Muslims. We put our country first, before our religion. And when that is reversed (through radicalization), that will lead to a slippery slope, and that is where countries like Nigeria and Northern Africans find themselves in. In the end, I fully support the government in its actions.
    In Response

    by: Ethiopic from: USA
    August 13, 2013 11:28 AM
    Wosen and fellow Ethiopians of all faith. Like you said "we are Ethiopians first... then whatever faith we may be". I am absolutely with you on that. However one has to understand what the root cause of the issue here. It is not up to the government or anybody to tell you how to worship in your respective faith and dos and don'ts. While I do not follow any organized faith, I don't need the state to tell me that I should worship this way or that way. There should be a separation between faith and the state as it is everywhere (Except Saudi Arabia). We need to understand what they are asking for, then judge whether they are right or wrong.

    by: Siyum
    August 09, 2013 2:52 PM
    I am a christian Ethiopian living in Ethiopia unlike most of the commentors here. For anyone that cares about the truth, the government is Terrorising the people and it wishes for them to be terrorists to get more foreign aid to embezel but they have refussed. well done Ethiopian muslims. I have seen the brutal mass beating of Women, children and elder people by geared up "Federal" police most of which were not speaking the main local language but rather the language of the Highly feared, brutal, special military unit set up by the now deceased leader of Ethiopia which is called the AGAZI. if you all remember the same unit was responcible for the deaths of more than 100 Ethiopians in the 2003 election. Half of the real Federal police units there were equally appalled by the action undertaken on August 8 and were heard saying "wey eda!" which is an amharic saying meaning "What a burdon!"

    by: Demitu
    August 09, 2013 10:30 AM
    It should be noted that the 29 committee memebrs who are now in prison are elected by the Muslim community. When the government knew that they are strong enough to defend their freedom of religion, they were criminalized as terrorists and agents of foreign elements. The governments MOTO is if you cannot control it eliminate it.

    by: Awot
    August 09, 2013 4:54 AM
    The government follows a political line which it calls revolutionary democracy, which highly centralized. According to this government any one who claims her/his rights, is a terrorist. Any group that claims collective rights is jailed and charged for treason. The Ethiopian Muslims are victims of this political line. Few months ago the Archbishop was handpicked by the ruling party as was his predecessor. The Old Synod and the Archbishop live in exile. The government attempts to threaten the public by labeling and sectarian divide. This is a dangerous move for the country and for region.

    by: Ghion from: Addis Ababa Ethiopia
    August 09, 2013 1:39 AM
    Ethiopia takes its historical pride by being multicultural, religions, ethnics and so forth. It is unfortunate the byes media outlets mostly reports and concentrates on the negative side of the government never to the instigator of the violence from the first place.
    The government has a responsibility to protect the people, their properties and the nation of Ethiopia in general.
    No government, no sensible citizen of Ethiopia will allow Ethiopia to become a headquarter or a training ground for Al-Qaeda and Saudi's extremists.


    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora