Ethiopia Arrests Muslim Leaders After Unrest in Addis Ababa By William Davison (Bloomberg)

July 20th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopian police yesterday arrested an unspecified number of Muslim leaders involved in last week’s unrest in the capital, Addis Ababa, Communications Minister Bereket Simon said.

The arrest of members of a committee from Awalia Mosque in Addis Ababa and others was made after obtaining a court order, he said.

“Those arrested are people who instigated the violence,” he said by phone from the city today. “They were trying to undermine the constitution under the guise of religion.”

A group of Ethiopian Muslims, who make up 34 percent of a population of 94 million according to the CIA World Factbook, have been protesting for eight months at mosques about alleged government interference in elections of Islamic leaders. Ethiopian authorities have accused protesters of including extremists who want to turn Ethiopia into an Islamic state.

A minimum of three members of the 17-person committee and three others were arrested yesterday, group spokesman Ahmedin
Jebel said.

“Simultaneously the houses of 24 individuals were searched,” he said by telephone today from the capital. “They stayed the whole night there.”

A group of Muslims gathered around Anwar Mosque today to protest the arrests and state interference in religious affairs, demonstrator Abdul Samad said.

“We can’t elect out leaders,” he said today outside the city’s largest mosque. “And we are being imprisoned.”

Security forces arrested 72 people from a crowd trying to create a “civil disturbance” around Awalia Mosque on July 13, the government said. Police raided the mosque and fired shots and tear gas to disrupt a meeting planned for July 15 where the
elections would be discussed, according to Ahmedin.

  1. Global Belai Jesus
    | #1

    Dear William Davison and Editor of Bloomburg:
    Re: Balanced, Accurate and Complete Reporting
    I read this article entitled Ethiopia arrests Muslims leaders after unrest.
    Ethiopia is an ancient country of over 7504 years of recorded governance that includes more than 120 nations and nationalities, over 80 linguistic groups and several Universal Religions including the Abrahamic Covenant, Original Jews, Original Christians and Original Muslims.
    The challenge is that the Ethiopian Constitutional Order separates religion from political governance. Faith is a personal matter and the country’s governance is a collective matter.
    The Ethiopian King Negash gave permission to the followers and family members of the Prophet, blessed be his name to take refuge in Ethiopia at the early days of Islam. As such Ethiopia has the original version of Islam than any country in the world. Ethiopia claims that its version of Judaism and Christianity is original and un altered for over 3000 years, 2000 years and 1600 years respectively.
    Now certain elements who are adherents of the Arabian Penninsula version of Islam want to impose their version on Ethiopians and Ethiopians refused. In effect this is about the sole, heritage of the orginal un adulterated form Islam being practiced only in Ethiopia.
    The stories of these revisionist Islamists is not open in Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Ethiopia does not want to import terrorism from the Middle East and this is at the heart of the matter. Instead of giving the story its full perspective, I believe your reporter has chosen sensationalism over objectivity. There was no discussion or presentation of diverse perspectives. This is critical for professional journalism. I am disappointed in this respect
    First and foremost, I believe this title does not give justice to the story that is evolving in the country.
    The Muslim leaders are not arrested. None of those claimed to be arrested as Muslim leaders. They could be contending to be a leader, but not elected yet.
    The challenge has been that there were contentions about how to elect the next set of the Council of Muslim leadership. Before the election takes place, some elements started to raise some three questions about how to proceed the election process. Should we elect within the premises of the Mosques or at local district councils,etc.
    Prior to the final settlement of the election process some elements wanted to create unrest. The General Muslim Community in Ethiopia has been demonstrating against those who want to create unrest during the weekend of the AU meetings. In short, your story does not tell the background and gives leadership role to people who are not yet elected but were found to nurture unrest against all common sense, especially at a time when the country was hosting AU leadership meetings.
    Many would have been disappointed if the disturbances were allowed to proceed in this critcal time. I am sure the owner of Bloomerburg will not allow such disturbances when the UN General Assembly is in progress in New York. Why the double standard?
    I look forward for a more balanced, accurate and complete reporting that takes into consideration the perspective of Millions of Ethiopians Muslims who do not support the alleged disturbances, planned or implemented.
    Ethiopia needs to continue to be the Island of Diversity, Peace and Security as well as prosperity in a neighborhood of famine, civil war, terrorism and religious disenfranchisement.
    I wish Ethiopian Muslims to choose their Council of Leadership in an atmosphere of freedom, contemplation and security that matches the best in the world. May the Lord, Universal God, Allah and Bloomburg help us all!
    Thank you
    Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
    http://www.GlobalBelaiJesus.com

  2. Mohammed
    | #2

    Hello William Davison,
    I appreciate you for trying to be balanced in the way you report by asking questions from both sides. However, that is not enough, you have to dig deep enough to show your own account. You are saying that you are reporting from Addis. How difficult is it for a dedicated journalist to see the large crowd (by many estimates over a million) yet you simply called it “A group of Muslims gathered”. Besides, the last phrase is also not right. Why cut and paste the governments propaganda while it’s easy to find out that the security forces entered the mosque to stop the feast preparation for a unity and “Sadaqa” (feast) program? What they confiscated is simply meat and bottled water, how is that a pretext?

  3. Henok
    | #3

    I agree with Mohamed . every thing he said is only the truth !

  4. Aman
    | #4

    Dear William,
    It is good to see you try to show us the current condition here in Addis. But as noted by my friends above, would be more wiser if you could talked muslims from both sides and from the other ethiopians. Because Ethiopia is generaly a country of Ethiopians, and every one does not need to be disturbed because of two muslim parties are running for their own reasons.
    Moreover, it is clear that muslims were killed and sent from the country they were living/arab/ and the only country, christian country who accepted muslims as muslims then was ethiopia, it is shame now hear some muslims say ethiopia should be administered by Sheria.
    While more number of the population in Ethiopia is christian, almost none has recalled or pround of the percentage. but some muslims are trying to tell us the percentage is equal and even some say it is majority.
    If for extremist, let alone governement, every ethiopian does not support extremist, WE do not want it (it is shared by majority that is why I said ‘we’).
    As a journalist, it is better to talk more people muslim and christian, the case is not the case if gov but a peace needing Ethiopian.

  5. Abdu
    | #5

    Dear Global Belai Jesus
    I think you don’t have knowledge of truth or you don’t like to have it either due to your personal biases against your Muslim brothers or you are aspired to remained tabula rasa!
    We Ethiopian Muslims are asking the government our constitutional rights like the gov. should stop to interfere in our religious affairs..we don’t like the EPRDF’s imported alien religion known as Ahbash from Lebanon. The gov. should stop the forced fornication of Ahbash sect on Muslim, Muslims leaders should be representatives and adherents of the will of Muslim not EPRDF, Awolia should be rule by Muslim Board.
    Hello Mr.Global Belai Jesus, Due to our above requests, the government wrongly and unjustly accused us terrorist, aspiring to from an Islamic state and an enemy of Ethiopian peace and stability. the gov. fabricated such kinds wrong allegation just for the sake of winning the political support of Christian brothers and sisters. It is also for the sake achieving the so called divide and rule political game. Unfortunately, the gov. is successful in recruiting persons like you who are ruled by wrong justice based on wrong facts.
    Therefor, your have to think three times before writing something. here u are writing religion that concern all Ethiopian more than anything
    Victory for The Oppressed Ethiopians!

  6. Selam
    | #6

    One thing all of us should have to know is God is Great! All in heaven and earth even in hell they are under the rule of God. Ethiopia it is not belong to muslim or chiristain ! All creature have the right to live in peace! Please if you are from God show us the love of God ,the peace of God…..if no all of you look back your starting point and correct your destiny! ETHIOPIA IS FOR ALL EXCEPT Devil! amen

  7. zeee
    | #7

    dear bro abdu :)… May Allah bless u.. Agree wiz u 100 % .. Haymanotehen limreteleh blo science yelem! Evry muslim hv z rt 2 follow zer religion freely n also select zer leadrs 2… Y does z gov involv at z religious mtrs if its realy secular n state n religion r separatd…

  8. HENOK
    | #8

    we are very fine.we are brothers it is a false news nothing happend or will happen to any musslim or christian or any body here dont litsen to this crap.

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    @Mohammed
    Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi

    Zayd Ibn Harithah. Zayd, a Black African, has the distinction as the only companion of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) who is mentioned by name in the Holy Qur’an! (Qur’an 33:37). He was one of the first 5 converts o Islam and died as a martyr.

  10. muslim
    | #10

    Aslamualeykum werhmetulah excuse may English for its my second language we the muslim of Ethiopia apretiate ur report as you have tried to report it from both sides but we are diapointed in some of our fellow christien in bleaving the goverment enforced muslims and the goverment it self and call the muslims that have been here since the time of Nejashi R.A extrimist and call this new born goverment enforced ahbash people ur muslim brother its a big disapointment u should investigate where they come from? Who was their first leader is? Why he left Ethiopia the first place? Before calling ur muslim brothers names

  11. fox
    | #11

    one thing that should be clear is that these fundamentalists do not have a right to ban another sect like the ahbash.It is like saying the orthodox do not want pentecostals in ethiopia.One thing is very clear and that is muslim fundamentalists are trying to make inroad in ethiopia.Unfortunately the majority of these protesting muslims are just gullible followers ( that don’t have intellectual,ideological and educational readiness capable of standing on their own in this ideological warfare) used as a trojan horse by some fundamentalists and extremists,from the middle east and other places.The west solved the problem religious fundamentalism of by separating church and state effectively few centuries back and put religion in its place – that is in the private domain.Unfortunately the muslim world is being rocked with this problem and it seems we are next to deal with that.Unfortunately history of the muslim world of the recent past teaches us that fundamentalism is the precipe for destruction and terror.

  12. Anonymous
    | #12

    There is a saying in our country, “Don’t hold a tiger’s tail. If you do, make sure you don’t release it.” You know what it means. If you are brave enough to hold the tiger’s tail, don’t let go of its tail until you kill it. If you do, it is not the tiger but you are the one certain to die.

    This is the principle that should be applied to TPLF. Once you start confronting them, don’t stop. If you do, you will be history. That is why our Muslim brothers should never stop or give in no matter what happened to them. It can be imprisonment and killings. TPLF can imprison and kill some of the Muslim leaders. But they should resist and come back at TPLF with more vengeance and anger.

    They should prepare alternative leaders to take the place of the ones who are leading now in case they are imprisoned. If the Muslim brothers buckle and start retreating, the consequences are devastating not only to the Muslim community but also to all Ethiopians looking for change in Ethiopia. If would have been better for the Muslims not to start this movement in the first place than retreating now under pressure.

  13. Fuad shifa
    | #13

    Dear WILLIAM
    i realy appricate your reporting concerning the ethiopian muslim
    but it is not question a group it is all about ethiopian muslims
    as amnesty international reported and as the reality reality showing there is no humanity respection,there is no freedom of press
    so pls we need ur real jornalist help

  14. Anonymous
    | #14

    I agree with you Mohammed !!

  15. puzzled individual
    | #15

    @Mohammed
    my brother i’m deeply disheartened to see you fabricate a number in the name of your cause. I was there and it was nowhere near a million.

  16. puzzled individual
    | #16

    @Abdu
    Abdu Ahbash is not the only new sect in Ethiopia. Wahabism is just as new to Ethiopia. The horn of Africa has always followed the Shaffi school of thought. With all due respect to Sheikh Abdulwahab, his followers follow the hanbali school of thought which is foreign to Ethiopia. We can have our differences and still live in peace just as the four school of thoughts (hanbali, shaffi, maliki, hanafi- all sunni) have did for the past 1400 years.

  17. Tedla Asfaw
    | #17

    Thursday July 19 the overcast sky with warm temperature around 80 degree was a protest day here in Manhattan at 866 Second Avenue where Ethiopians gathered to denounce Woyane/TPLF jailing of Eskinder Nega, Andualem Arage and others. We called for all Political Prisoners to be Freed and held the regime accountable for the safety of all it jailed. Free Eskinder Nega, Free Andualem Arage and Free All Political Prisoners Right Now was echoing in Manhattan.

    Alah Wakiber, Egzebher Yekeber was heard in the middle of our protest which took almost two hours from 12pm to 1:45pm. Ethiopian Muslims joined the rally who came as far as New Jersey hearing about the rally on ESAT. Stop Terrorizing Ethiopian Muslims in Addis Ababa, We support the Awoliya struggle for religious freedom signs read. Both Ethiopian Muslims and Christians stand shoulder to shoulder to denounce the State Terrorism perpetuated by Meles Zenawi regime in Ethiopia.

    Not far from us Syrians held a protest denouncing United Nation for its failure to support the people of Syria. Once more the Syrians were sacrificed for geopolitical interest of Superpowers. China and Russia on one side with Bashir Al Assad, the rest on the other side. We told the public that the Ethiopian people have no friend at this time. All the Superpowers are supporting the Meles Zenawi regime for their own interest. Meles Zenawi is their Boy !!!!

    We reminded everyone that Bashir of Syria is no different than Meles of Ethiopia. The Syrian people are taking the fight to Damascus with great sacrifice and we Ethiopians have a lot to learn. Silence when Ethiopian Muslims are targeted is not acceptable. TPLF/Woyane is now on the final stage of releasing its new “terror flick” called “Akeldama Awoliya”. All the propaganda before its release has already been underway. “Silte Muslims denounced Muslims in Addis Ababa”. Reminds me of Peasant Association in Ethiopia denounced Regan under the Derg propaganda.

    The brave Ethiopian Muslims in Addis Ababa have indeed led the peaceful struggle in Ethiopia since January of this year. Every Friday hundreds of thousands gathered after their Friday prayer not to give their religious institution to Woyane. The regime infiltrated to divide Muslims by their ethnic origin and failed miserably. The regime partly succeeded in dividing fellow Christians home and abroad. Ethiopian Christians failed to clear their house of worship from Woyane infiltrators.

    It is time to learn from fellow Ethiopian Muslims. We challenged fellow Ethiopian Christians to show their public support for fellow Ethiopian Muslims every Sunday in their church compound. Let us organize ourselves like fellow Muslims and demand Woyane/TPLF cadres not to get involved in our religious affairs. We challenged also the Ethiopian youth to come out on street and demand the release of Eskinder Nega,Andualem Arage and all political prisoners.

    Those who claim to lead the struggle “peacefully” have to show their face to the public. Call their supporters out on the streets and demand the release of their leaders and members. The youth have to question their leaders why they are afraid to come out on the street. How comes the Ethiopian Muslims stand strong for more than eight months while the political opponents failed to stage even a one day rally for justice and freedom ?

    New York and its surrounding Ethiopians promised to stand with the Ethiopian Muslims and all who stand for their right. Woyane might jail and kill many Ethiopian Muslims to control Majlis like it controlled the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. If we do not stand for each other Woyane’s failed plan of instigating religious conflict might be revived. It is time to form a united front against Woyane right now.

    Transitional Government Right Now one of the signs read. Such transition is indeed timely. Woyane and its foreign supporters claim that Ethiopia will be like another Somalia after TPLF/Woyane is gone. In 2005 the Ethiopian people forced opposition forces to “Unite or perish”, “Tebaberu Weyeme Tesebaberu”. Yes, they formed Kinijit and beat Woyane. Unfortunately, they were not brave to secure their Victory.

    We have a good lesson to learn. Indeed we need to form a United Front of Braves. Those who are melting under pressure can not be our allies. We need tested leaders right on the field. We need bridge builders. We need brave religious leaders who believe ” Hayamanote Yegel Hager Yegara Newe”. We can not worship if we do not have Ethiopia. The uniting factor is saving Ethiopia from Woyane .

    We urge all in the diaspora to come together at this very moment. Our religion is Ethiopia, our party is Ethiopia. Let us build free Ethiopia for all. Ethiopians in New York who showed up today are a shining example of love and unity. In our gathering poems and patriotic songs were read loud on megaphone even Woyane/TPLF cadrres on the third floor heard it. Some who came out for their lunch saw us standing tall. We told them to abandon the sinking Woyane Ship sooner than later.

    All went us planned fifteen minutes before 2pm. The passing shower forecast hold very well until we finished. We were socked going back home/work, enjoyed the cooling rain. The Ethiopian prayer is answered from above, Alah Wakeber, Egzeabher Yekeber !!!!!!

  18. Alemenesh
    | #18

    William ,Thank you and I appreciated your analysis’s of Ethiopian Muslims.This is the fact.woyane cadere like Belai Jesus wrote the pretext reason that is not the fact and he fabricated like his Apr tide junta politics.William do not stope and next this bold reporting system.Belai Jesus,please stop your nonsense and invalid comment. you will go to grave with your Apr tide Nazy party. Thank you.

  19. ababi
    | #19

    i realy disapoint by belai`s analysis ,too poor and way far from the reality ,i am not sure why some of our people sleep on their ear ,may be not to leasten the truth or some of them are open hatter like BELAI

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