EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE I’s LESSON FOR NEW YORK AND USA – By Hibret Selamu

July 21st, 2010 Print Print Email Email

When Emperor Haile Selassie I was approached by Saudi Arabia for permission to build a mosque in Axum, a city where one of Ethiopia’s holy Christian sites is located, he had a perfect response for them. New York has now been requested by some entities to build a mosque in the vicinity of the 9/11 massacre. The symbolism of such a daring act cannot be lost on anyone! There is no doubt that His Majesty’s wisdom would be useful for the authorities of New York as well as the government of USA in general.

First: a bit about Christianity and Islam in Ethiopia. According to the bible, the Acts, chapter 8, verses 26-39, Christianity was accepted in Ethiopia soon after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, the historic records of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church state that the first Ethiopian (the then Minister of Finance) was baptized in the year 34 AD. In addition, it should be stated that Ethiopia is mentioned in the holy bible over 40 times.

It is also a matter of public knowledge that Ethiopians are a tolerant society. When the first Muslims were being harassed by the then idol worshipping Arabs, Prophet Mohammed directed over 100 of his followers including his daughter Rockeya as well as her husband to migrate to Ethiopia where they were welcomed and lived in peace for 15 years before they returned to Mecca. It should be stated, in this respect, that Arabs have always been familiar with Ethiopia as it had a great deal of influence in their region. As an example of this, mention can be made of the chapter in the Quran, entitled: “The Year of the Elephant” which relates the Ethiopian army’s occupation of Mecca in the seventh century. During this period, parts of Saudi Arabia as well as the whole of Yemen were under Ethiopian occupation. Compare that with present days’ Ethiopia from where refugees flock to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region due to the grinding poverty and oppression prevailing in their own country!

Christianity as well as Islam were accepted in Ethiopia peacefully unlike religious wars including jihad that had forced other countries to convert to one religion or another. Ethiopian Christians and Moslems coexist peacefully despite destructive fundamentalist provocations such as the burning of churches in Kefa and Illubabor a couple of years ago. Such provocations are known to have been initiated with financial help from fundamentalist Muslim countries.

Coming back to Emperor Haile Selassie I’s wisdom, his response to Saudi Arabia’s request was that he would be willing to approve the construction of a mosque in Axum, a city that contains one of Ethiopia’s sacred Christian sites, as long as Saudi Arabia permitted a church to be built in Mecca. Saudi Arabia never responded. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and US authorities may make a similar, simple request to facilitate the spread of Christianity and Islam in a reciprocal manner.

  1. derbie
    | #1

    This piece is written by a person who is biased against Islam or ignorant of the facts.
    Even if what he is claimed here – the Emperor telling the Saudis – true there is no parallel here between what is happening in New York and what has supposedly happened in ancient Axum.
    In Axum it is an alien government, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who wanted to build a mosque in a foreign country (Ethiopia) while in New York the request was made by some people of New York, citizens of the U.S.of A., who are followers of Islam.
    These New Yorkers are within their rights to build a mosque in the USA where they are citizens of. It is absurd to require of them to obtain permission for the likes of the writer to build a church in Saudi Arabia.

  2. Alemu
    | #2

    Does anyone can imagine the Muslims will allow any christian church to build in Mecca. That must be a jock, since they will arrest anyone carrying a bible. The religion is intolerant and does not like any kind of peaceful coexistence. Mark my word, Ethiopia will face what other countries have faced, since the Wahhabi from Saudi are eying in converting or creating havoc in Ethiopia. Thank to Melese, his people are also accommodating the kind of bloodletting never seen before.

  3. Drama
    | #3

    ONE THING YOU’LL ETHIOPIANS NEED TO KNOW- YOUR HISTORY.
    MOHAMED IS AN ARAB, A PROPHET, A PREACHER OF HIS RELGION.

    BUT THE FOUNDING PHILOSOPHY OF ISLAM CAME FROM AN ETHIOPIAN NAMED BELAY GEBREMEDHIN IN THE 4TH CENTURY (267 YEARS BEFORE MOHAMED).

    BELAY WAS ALSO THE GOVERNOR OF MECCA. A LOT OF ARABS LED BY THE “SAUD” KINGS, WHERE THE NAME SAUD ARABIA CAME FROM, ARRIVED IN THE DESSERT OF HABESHA FROM THE FARTHER EAST (PERSIA) DURING THE FOURTH CENURY, BECAUSE MOST ETHIOPIANS STARTED MIGRATING INTO THE MORE FERTILE LAND OF TODAY’S ETHIOPIA FROM ISRAEL, EGYPT, AND OTHER ARABIAS, THE DESSERR BECAME “YEARAB MENAHARIA”. THAT IS WHY THE WHITE MAN IS CLAIMING ALL CHRISTIAN AND ISLAM HISTORY IS THEIRS, WHICH IS NOT TRUE. WE ETHIOPIANS ARE THE SOURCES OF ALMOST ALL PHILOSOPHIES AND WE DESERVE TO BE ENTITLED TO OUR TRUE HISTORY. THE WEST WILL ALWAYS WANT TO SILENCE THIS RICH NATION’S CULTURE.

  4. Kebede
    | #4

    Ethiopian Muslims in Axum need a Mosque to practise their religion. The question is, why should you need a Church in Mecca where their is no a single Christian?

  5. merke
    | #5

    the truth is it is not any muslim want to build mosque any where there is unwanted message behind it i remember 20 years ago there was only one anuwar mosque in addis ababa today there are 100 mosque in addis only do you think ethiopian muslims build all this? evrey body have a right to practice his belief but those those arabs they will do any thing to spread thier phillosophy.i mostly care about those migrated philosophy govenment and the people must watch carfully because they can cause distraction among socity and the country there fore any religion is not born in ethioipa must be limited,the past is past but no more it is dangerous.

  6. Mohamed Jesus Musa … Abraham Adam the father of all of you. says
    | #6

    i think saoudi has many chrisian immigrant under a muslim nam they claim them self muslim so they can get visa still soudis main reason for not letting church to be build in mecca that is because a birth place of mohamed (pbuh) peace be upon him. to make it one holy islam sit am sure most chritian also whould of been happy if they wipe out the muslims from israel but the thing is israel was never chritian state it is owned by four main religion of the world jewish, muslim, christians and juaism north east west sout. so always muslis own historcal places dome of the rock baytel makedis chritian also own many sacerade holy sites judasm and jewish own same so you can never wipe muslim out almost any where. the point is chritians in ethiopia always try to opress then cause they they were on power in north and west. muslim mainy got southand east now we share capital. chritians early 19 century converted the mosque in harar feres megala area also did so much destruction if the muslim do something in jima kefa ilibanoor dont be surprise over all the ppl of ethiopia doing much better. so lets respect each other our culture best of all our identity that we like to make ethiopia a better place to live for all of us we are ethiopian wheteher we r amuslim or christian. our religion is our interest and here no interest conflict should between us. love ur neibors whatever they are they ethiopian skin mind birh, culture thanx…………

  7. Mohamed Jesus Musa … Abraham Adam the father of all of you. says
    | #7

    HideOusman Assefa Islam is not named after a tribe of people or an individual, as Judasim is named after the tribe of Judah, Christianity after Christ. And Buddhism after Buddha. Islam is not a name chosen by human beings, it was divinely communicated from God.
    4 hours ago via Mobile Web · Comment ·LikeUnlikeSamira Seid, Amira Ali and 2 others like this.
    Samira Seid zats true
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlikeOusman Assefa islam is acomplet way of life, implying total submission to God.
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 people
    Loading…Medina Areb absolutely right !!!!!!!!
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlikeMohammed Seid absolutely agree with the idia
    2 hours ago · LikeUnlikeRahmat Hussen Agree
    2 hours ago · LikeUnlikeWrite a comment…

  8. Aziz
    | #8

    We have to face facts. The huge number of mosques constructed in Ethiopia are partly funded by external sources, especially Saudi Arabia through its agent, Al Amoudi. Saudi Arabia’s Wahabist fundamentalists have continued to exert their maximum effort to take over the leadership of the Muslim community in Ethiopia.They will never succeed as Ethiopian Muslims and Christians have a history of a peaceful co-existence with the exception of a very few episodes.

    It’s not true that there’re are no Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are thousands of them but because of that country’s restrictive policy i.e. lack of tolerance for other religions, they cannot worship openly. Some of them change their christian names to Arab ones. Saudi Arabia forbids Christians from going to Mecca. I know some who used Arab names to go to Mecca and visit/work there.

    Do you remember Khedija, an Ethiopian Muslim woman who was beheaded by the Saudi authorities a few years ago?!!!!

    Saudi Arabia is extremely intolerant of other religions while it uses its surrogates to build mosques in other countries. Is that fair or acceptable?

    One other point: with the exception of some Muslims in Wollo who use Ethiopian names, other Ethiopian Muslims use Arab names! Do you have to use an Arab name to follow the Muslim faith?!!!!

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    @Drama
    Greetings, This is a most interesting theory you pose, can you tell me where I might go for verification of what you say? Thank you in advance!

  10. Yigerman
    | #10

    Ladies and Gents first let me bring you back to Mr Hibret Selamu’s Comments. I am flabbergasted with his suggestion about ground Zero Mosque to New Yorkers. I read once it says “Education and dress can’t change once background.”
    Mr. Selamu you forgot this is America Jack and also 21st century, Mr. Selamu, does not matter how educated he might appear to us the telling fact remained, he is ignorant of time. His comments reflected how prejudice this man is.
    America belongs to Americans so is Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia respectively. If Muslims, Christians, and etc build the place of worship it is their right. Be it in Ethiopia, USA and Saudi Arabia. One has nothing to do with the other. If Emperor Haile Selassie displayed ignorance, biased and bigotry we should not cherish his backward thoughts. By the way this is one of the Problems with us (Ethiopians.)
    Saudi Christians has to deal with Saudi Government or the authority in their Country. It has nothing to do with Ethiopian Muslims or Government. Like the Christian world help Ethiopia to build a church Saudi wants to help Ethiopian Muslims to build the mosque. But it is unfortunate until now Aksum Muslims are not allowed to build a mosque in Axum. They have to go out of town taking transportation to pray every Friday. How many of you know this? Certainly, Saudi Arabia was not Building Mosques in Axum for Saudis in Axum (It is a laughing matter to think otherwise).
    Can any one of you say in clear terms Axum Muslim has no right to build a Mosque in Axum as Mr. Selamu suggested? I just wanted to know

  11. chak
    | #11

    in my opinion,the story about selassie and saud is a fable like so many other stories about him, i read in one biography that he used to make blood worships. the story of belay g.m is only known in ethiopia, as i know. the story of the enuch is not a fable, besides that THAT ethiopia meant in the bible refers to the country of the candace which is sudan and not ethipia, ethiopia didnt exist at that time like we know today, there was aksum and akababi, only for a short time aksum extended its wings widely. until the times of frementius and even of the 9 saints there was only a small community of christians in abysina comparing much “pegan worship” around. there is always a difference to make between ethiopians seeing themselves as ethiopians and the world seeing at ethiopians. an ethiopian understands the root of everything in ethiopia, a greek knows his country as the root,same as persians and so on. undenieable fact is that the whole world accepts egypt as the root of almost everything… the worlds whole history is based on egyptian relics because everything else is too unshure or might be corrupted.ask a philosopher about ethiopa and he might tell you that it is mainly mentioned by outsiders. ethiopia has most of its very ancient history from outside. when reading written worldhistory by the eyes of a human and not of a patriot you can recorgnize a line cuttin thru the whole planet, the andes,america, africa, europe, asia australia, every where,still,egypt is the center.

  12. Yigerman
    | #12

    Think
    Simple to understand impossible to challenge (No nuclear physics here), unless one in filled with bigotry, biased and sick mind.
    United States belong to United States Citizens. Ethiopia belongs to Ethiopian’s and so is Saudi Arabia. If US Citizen wants to build a Place of worship in their Country, it is up to the citizen, so is Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia respectively. One has nothing to do with the other. Can you get that Jack (Hibret Selamu)?
    The Christian World helped Ethiopian Christians from propagation, evangelism to building churches for Ethiopian Christians for years nothing wrong with that. If Saudi Government wants to build Mosques for Axum –Ethiopian Muslims what is wrong? By the way, it has nothing to do who builds the Mosque, still the Axum Muslim are not Allowed to build Mosque in Axum Ethiopia. Is there any Sound Christians of Ethiopia agree with this except Mr. Hibret Selamu and a few dim-witted?
    If we Love Ethiopia! We better think twice. Ethiopia means not only the land but the people. Love The People mean not only Christians but the Muslims. The right to the place of worship means not only for Christians (churches) but for Muslims (mosques).
    If you are not able to wake up and smell the coffee, we are inviting disaster for Ethiopia. Mr. Hibret Selamu Ethiopians need to go forward not backward. I felt embarrassed as Ethiopian for you to offer such prejudiced and bigoted suggestion to the Americans using The X king Hail Silasse as reference.

  13. Proudly Muslim Habesha
    | #13

    This piece of article, I think failed to achieve its illusionary objective, as both the New York Mayor, Bloomberg and above all that President Barak Obama has given his equivocal support for the construction of the Mosque at the site expressing as unshakable freedom of religion! But the Irony is that you people, you want to export your sick narrow ideology of One Country, One Religion, and one Ethnic group, something which killed Ethiopia and caused irreversible damage to its economy and society. You people, you’ve to admit that you’re responsible for decades long drought and poverty of the country! What you’ve to know is that, this is America built on diversity as strength and freedom of worship and thought as unshakable foundation! As to Muslim Axumites, it’s a matter of time; their centuries long suppression will come to an end soon as Ethiopian Muslims as well as other rational-minded citizens will never rest unless the plight of the Muslim Axumites answered! It seems that you’re living on myth and illusion of the past. These days Ethiopia is changing for good and irreversibly and the Era of Christian domination has gone-hell for good! Try to live in today’s Ethiopia!

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