Meles Zenawi blames Muslim sect over church attacks

meles-zenawi

By Aaron Maasho

(Reuters):  ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi blamed a little-known local Muslim group of preaching religious intolerance in an area where Christian churches were burnt last week, killing one person.

Authorities have said up to 50 churches have been burnt and around 3,000 Christians displaced since March 2 when Muslim youths attacked the community around Asendabo, some 360 km (215 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa.meles-zenawi

The U.S.-based International Christian Concern said youths had accused Christians of desecrating the Koran.

The group, which says it aims to fight the persecution of Christians, accused local security officials of doing nothing to stop the attacks.

Meles told a news conference late on Saturday that “elements of the Kawarja sect and other extremists” had been preaching religious intolerance in the area.

“The government has been trying to stop the violence. That has been done quite successfully in spite of the property damage and the death of one Ethiopian,” he said.

International Christian Concern said Kawarja, about whom little is known, aimed to set up an Islamic state in mainly Christian Ethiopia, where Muslims make up a quarter of the population.

More than a dozen members of Ethiopia’s Pentecostal church were killed in the same area in 2006 in similar attacks over desecration charges.

Meles said it was hard to prosecute Islamic extremists.

“We knew that they were peddling this ideology of intolerance, but it was not possible for us to stop them administratively because they are within their rights,” he said.

“If we can find some association between what they are doing by way of preaching and what happened by way of violence, then of course we can take them to court.”

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5 Comments

  1. why don’t you be democrat and at the equilibrium.you know, you are always shouting when a minor phenomena is existed due to the muslims.BUT you lack the courage to talk a single word when the rights of the muslim society in this country is denied.do you remember, the seven burnt mosques in gurage zone in a single night,a single media can’t cover it.a media is expected to be neutral but in our context…

  2. FOR PEOPLE
    realy “minor phenomena”?.Is there any major one you dream about.This is more than enough you did to distablize society, if it was not for the wisdom and tolerance of christians.Asendabo was growing but you resisted all good things just to burn your town and now you start suffering and most of you are now sorry for it.Remember solve your problems in your traditional ways,know your histories do not be fooled by the aggitations and aggitators dont let them move you like water in the canal against chrstians.do not undermine our tolerance it is in our blood like that KILLING is in your book judge yourself which one is civil.BE PATIENT WITH US FOR EVERY THING IN THE LAND.PEACE.

  3. Open Letter to the Ethiopian Community in and outside of Ethiopia,
    It is tragic anytime life is lost due to violence of any sort irrelevant of the cause. I stand with all Ethiopians and humans in general who denounce violence. I strongly encourage my fellow Ethiopians not to be quick to judge the cause or reason behind the recent alleged violence. Remember our beloved country is made up of many religions with Islam and Christianity being the two main ones. We should be extremely proud of our history that dates back to the beginning of humanity. Throughout history we lived together peacefully without religious bias of any sort. I can recall my family and my neighbors cooking, laughing, working, and celebrating together each others religion. Irrelevant of our belief we have always been tolerant of one another. I don’t see any reason to change this. We should continue to love and care for one another no matter our religious differences. We should NEVER allow government to meddle in religious affair! In the west religion is often a divisive issue because we let the media dictate the way we should perceive our religious differences. In Ethiopia religion has enriched us and brought us together. We should NEVER let the media meddle in religious matters and certainly the government as well. So lets stand together and celebrate our religious differences and tell the Ethiopian media outlet and government STAY OUT OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS!!! With love from Davis, California, USA

  4. Uthiopia tabetsih edewiha habe egzeabher.
    Muslims in Ethiopia have the to top respect and freedom in this regime.
    Unluckily they are changing it into evil (devil’s act), not democracy.
    Ethiopia is always protected, loved & pat-rioted almost all of the time by Christians.
    Betam yasaznal eko mangnawm muslim siweled jemiro sle-Ethiopia (sleenat hager ) asbo ayakim.
    Agaretiwa diha bithonim benetsanet yalech eskahun be Christian hizbuwa bicha new. This absolutely true.
    yemisaznew muslimu eskahun ethiopia endeageru ayayatim (complete muslim) eskalhonech dires.
    muslim le-ethiopia 0% tikim 100% gudat new yalew eskahun. They believe in Arabic countries, not in Ethiopia.
    So, Muslim is not an Ethiopian. That’s it.
    You love & you following your devil (OSAMA (if possible ur Mohammed)).
    fk u muslim.

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