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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

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 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid