Muslim-Christian Violence Escalates in Ethiopia

October 24th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

By Jennifer Riley Christian Post Reporter |Oct. 23 2006

Christians are being increasingly attacked and murdered by Muslim extremists in Ethiopia as political and religious tension rise in the region, according to a report on Friday.

Muslims in the small Ethiopian village of Dembi had reportedly told Christians they would not let them celebrate Meskel, an annual Orthodox festival beginning in mid-September, reported the World Evangelical Alliance ““ Religious Liberty Commission (WEA-RLC). According to Reuters, Muslims in the area rioted when Orthodox Christian celebrated Meskel, resulting in four days of sectarian violence in early October that left three religious centers and some 800 houses burned, more than 100 displaced, numerous people injured and 10 dead.

Resumed religious conflicts in Dembi from Oct. 14 to Oct. 15 resulted in five deaths.

“This is a very worrying situation for us,”? said an Orthodox church official to the Sudan Tribune in an Oct. 5 report. “These things never used to happen but they seem to be starting now.”?

International Christian Concern (ICC) reported on Thursday that it had just been informed of a brutal attack on Christians on July 20 in Henno, Ethiopia. Seven Muslim clerics in southern Ethiopia angry over the conversion of two prominent Muslims in 2005 brutally attacked at least 50 Christians, seriously injuring twelve.

The Christian persecution group reported that “H”? was formerly a well-known Muslim leader and “M”? was the son of a well-respected Muslim tribal leader. On July 20, “M”? hosted a worship service and Muslim leaders using gangs in the area carrying knives, stones, and metal rods attacked the worshippers. “H”? was badly beaten by the mob, receiving five deep wounds to the head from an iron rod and also had missing teeth as a result. He suffered deep lacerations to his legs where several ligaments protruded from the skin, according to ICC.

The daughter-in-law of “H,”? who was also present and pregnant at the time, lost her baby from severe beatings.

The district government administrative office upon hearing the report warned Christians not to worship in predominantly Muslim region, according to ICC. The officers who heard the case were all Muslim.

However, many Muslims in the region have condemned the violence against Christians and some have refused to go to Mosques. According to ICC, 47 Muslim leaders became Christians and renounced Islam stating, “If Islam means killing innocent brothers and sisters ““ we do not want to follow it!”?

“Please pray for the Christians in Henno, Ethiopia, who are in need of your support in the midst of persecution from Muslim leaders who want to annihilate them,”? urged the persecution watchdog group. “ICC encourages all concerned parties to contact the Ethiopian embassy in the United States, to respectfully express concern that the freedom of Christians in Ethiopia is not being sufficiently protected.”?

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