Why are mosques being targeted in Ethiopia?

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Nobel Peace Laureate Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed succeeded in making peace with neighbouring Eritrea, but he now deals with increasing intra-religious violence in his multi-ethnic country.

Ethiopia has been hit with mass protests by members of the Muslim community after four mosques were subject to arson attacks in the Christian majority Amhara region.

Muslim-owned businesses were also targeted in the violence, which follows similar riots in the Muslim-majority Oromis region in October, where rival gangs attacked mosques and churches, leaving more than 80 people dead.

Despite receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in October for his efforts in securing peace between Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, faces significant pressures at home.

Critics say these emanate from his move to dismantle the country’s old order based on ethno-confederalism in favor of a new system, which aims to create a national unity government based on extensive political reforms.

Ahmed described the attacks as “attempts by extremists to break down our rich history of religious tolerance and coexistence”.

Leaders from both the Muslim and Christian communities condemned the violence.

Ahmed is the son of a Muslim father and a Christian mother in a country where Christians make up 40 percent of the 110 million-strong population. Muslims comprise one-third of the country’s citizens, according to the latest census.

Due to his background, Ahmed believes he can join the country under his leadership.

2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed poses with Nobel committee members (L-R) Asle Toje, Berit Reiss-Andersen, Henrik Syse and Anne Enger, in Oslo, Norway, December 9, 2019.
2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed poses with Nobel committee members (L-R) Asle Toje, Berit Reiss-Andersen, Henrik Syse and Anne Enger, in Oslo, Norway, December 9, 2019. (Credit: NTB Scanpix/Tore Meek / Reuters Archive)

Why Ahmed’s plan angered regional leaders

Ahmed’s plans to change the structure of the government, which is currently a coalition of different regional parties called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF), into a more centralised system that can draw support from every region, has drawn anger.

In the last 18 months, his political plans have led to inter-ethnic clashes, which have killed hundreds and displaced millions across the country, escalating tensions among regional leaders, who see Ahmed as trying to diminish their powers.

“The prime minister has made laudable efforts to tread a middle ground and unite the country but faces acute dilemmas,” said a December report of the International Crisis Group (ICG).

With elections scheduled in May, the report recommended that they should be delayed if violence increased significantly.

While Ahmed’s plan enjoys wide support across the country, regional leaders see it as a threat to their own power, and warn that it will put the interests of different ethnic groups at risk.

(Enes Danis / TRTWorld)

The ICG report says defenders of the current ethnicity-based system believes it protects every social group “in a diverse country formed through conquest and assimilation.”

Critics of the existing system see it as divisive and a threat to the country’s future.

“Detractors – a significant, cross-ethnic constituency – argue that because the system structures the state along ethnic lines it undercuts national unity, fuels ethnic conflict and leaves minorities in regions dominated by major ethnic groups vulnerable,” the ICG report said.

“It is past time, they say, to turn the page on the ethnic politics that for too long have defined and divided the nation,” the report added.

“Ethiopia’s transition may not yet hang from a precipice; indeed, it is still a source of hope for many in Ethiopia and abroad.

“But signs are troubling enough to worry top and former officials. Among the most alarmist suggestions made by some observers is that the multinational federation could break apart as Yugoslavia did in the 1990s.

“This worry may be overstated, but Abiy nonetheless should err on the side of caution as he walks a tightrope of pushing through reforms while keeping powerful constituencies on board.”

Source: TRT World
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2 Responses to Why are mosques being targeted in Ethiopia?

  1. This article is written by neftegna and conniving to show Oromo as agressive and anti-peace.
    people who try to demonize Oromo and other peacefull fellowmen are little demons in human flesh, imp, such as :
    Minas and boge,bogusly bojaja.

    you are truly defending amhara and its political agenda of “”tigrayim, oromom yegna” yikrta”hulum yegna minnesotam yegna since amhara people sold by Mililink for westerners arrived at minnesota and made US great again.”Unquote

    So , We mahra people are evrywhere and truly rule the world. We could simply say, we are the best and unique people on earth, said neftegna…….I am sorry. But it is my honest opinion. THE END

    , PHD holder uniquely awarded to me sorry. It is my opinion.

    Ashneday Yegna
    December 29, 2019 at 2:33 am

  2. በሞጣ ጉዳይ የቄሱ አስገራሚ ምላሽ
    BY H/michael Tadesse, The best Oromiya Pastor I do know

    He is condemining the amhara extremist disguising themselves as pastors like Daniel Kibret and other Mahibrekidusan pastors who go against Muslims and Oromia Church for thier own financial benefit.

    Down with these narcissist political motivated pastors.

    downwith Mahibrekidusan ,NGO
    December 30, 2019 at 4:20 am

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