Hundreds of Muslims burn down church in Ethiopia

December 14, 2011 by  
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Ethiopia ChurchEthiopa, December 13, 2011: A mob of more than 500 Muslims torched a church in Ethiopia after police had destroyed the roof.

The church, in the village of Qoto Baloso, Silte province, was burnt down on 29 November by Muslim students, accompanied by Muslim police officials. The students were shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great”) and “jihad”.

Four days earlier, police had destroyed the roof of the building after a court ruled that the church had been built without proper authorisation and therefore had to be demolished. More than 30 police officers were deployed to destroy the church, but in the face of protests from local Christians, they held back from demolishing the rest of the building.

The judge who made the demolition order is a Muslim; both he and the police chief who tried to enforce it are reportedly known for their anti-Christian bias.

One local Christian said:

All the government officials in the area are Muslims. The Islamic religion has become the state religion in our region. The non-Muslims in the area live and worship in fear.

The church was built on land that the Christian community has used to conduct ceremonies for over 60 years. The Supreme Court of the South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) had previously ruled in favor of the church when a Muslim businessman tried to claim ownership of the land.

The head of Silte Province police said they were investigating the burning of the church and seeking to determine who was responsible.

There are concerns about the growing Islamisation of Ethiopia and violence by Muslims against the Christian community. There have been a number of attacks this year, including the murder of church worker Abraham Abera in April, and coordinated arson attacks on scores of churches and Christian homes in Jimma Zone the previous month.

– barnabas team

Ethiopian Government: Radical Wahhabi Muslims Seeking To Turn Ethiopia Into An Islamic State

November 7, 2011 by  
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Ethiopia, November 4, 2011: International Christian Concern (Washington D.C.)-In a recent press conference, the Ethiopian government expressed its concern over the growing violence against moderate Muslims and Christians by radical Wahhabi Muslims. The government also announced discovering plans by the Wahhabi Muslims to turn Ethiopia into an Islamic country governed by Sharia law.
 
“We have found evidences and pamphlets [which] were publicly distributed during the month of Ramadan calling on the Muslim community to stand up against all non-Wahhabi Muslims and followers of other religions,” said Mersessa Reda, the Director General at the Ministry of Federal Affairs of Ethiopia, in a statement quoted by The New Business Ethiopia in early October.
 
The US embassy cable released by wikileaks on August 30, 2011 confirms the spread of radical Islamic teachings of Wahhabi among Muslims in Ethiopia. The cables indicate that, because of the spread of Wahhabi Islam, “Ethiopia’s delicate Muslim/Christian balance and historic attitudes between the faith communities regarding tolerance and mutual respect are being challenged, thereby undermining U.S. interests in the region.” The cable also warns that the Wahhabis “teach interpretations of the Koran that promote a far less tolerant view of other Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”

Ethiopia is a Christian majority country with 63% of the population adhering to the Christian faith and 34% of the population belonging to Islam. In the areas of the country with Muslim majorities, Christians face persecution.
 
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, “The statement by the Ethiopian government and the revelations by Wikileaks confirm our reports on the growing influence of Wahhabi radicals in Ethiopia. We have repeatedly called for Ethiopia to stem the growing violence against Christians in the country. We reiterate our calls for the government of Ethiopia to protect victims of Wahhabi attacks in the country and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

– icc

Refugee Camps Overflow Because of Mass Exodus From Ethiopia and Somalia

July 26, 2011 by  
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Mozambique Refugees

Mozambique Refugees

Mozambique: The crisis in refugee camps continues to grow as more and more Somali and Ethiopian refugees flee across northern Mozambique borders. Drought, war and persecution particularly have Somali and Ethiopian Christians running for their lives to safety.

The boats arriving on the shores of Mozambique are full of refugees who often come with nothing but the clothes on their backs. So far, the number of refugees needing humanitarian aid is estimated at 600 with the number still climbing.

Food for the Hungry (FFH) has stepped up to help these refugees in Mozambique. FH is working with the Mozambique government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Together, they are building an overflow refugee camp in the coastal town of Palma by setting up a kitchen station and clearing land.

This overflow camp is desperately needed since The Maratane Refugee Camp in Nampula already holds twice its normal amount. It went from 5,500 long-term refugees back in 2010, to over 10,000 today with the influx of asylum-seekers. So far, an additional 1,000 have been moved to the camp being constructed in Palma.

Refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia first started arriving in 2010 by boat, but the number of arrivals was not overwhelming. As long as the number of arrivals was around the number of departures, the camps could handle it.

But starting in 2011 when the worst drought in 60 years struck, that coupled with war and persecution led to a major movement of refugees fleeing Somalia and Ethiopia. To exert more control over the situation, the Mozambique government added restrictions on the movements of refugees outside the camps.

So far, Palma is still a temporary camp for overflow refugees. It is not ideal as the camp is near mosquito-infested swamps and lacks sanitary water. Food for the Hungry and the UNHCR are appealing for more aid including food, water, tents and sanitation.

Food for the Hungry exists to end physical and spiritual hungers in some of the most impoverished and critical areas of the world. The refugee camps in Mozambique easily fit the bill.

This pairing of humanitarian aid with evangelism encourages Christian refugees who have left everything they own. And it opens doors to minister the Gospel to the hurting and lost. Here is where the Christian community can step up and join the mission.

Please pray for refugees in the camps of Mozambique, that they would receive the aid they need and be able to work toward a better life. Pray also for perseverance for the church both in dangerous areas of persecution and in places of asylum. If you would like to have a hand in helping refugees both physically and spiritually, you can donate here.

Isaiah 58:6-7 says, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

– mnn

Prison Sentences for Over 500 Ethiopian Muslims Responsible For Burning Down Churches, Christian Homes

June 24, 2011 by  
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Ethiopian christians persecuted by muslim radicals

21 June, 2011 International Christian Concern (Washington D.C.)-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Ethiopian courts sentenced 579 Muslims to prison terms ranging from three months to 18 years for taking part in violence against Christians that left one dead, and 69 churches and several Christian homes burned to the ground in Asendabo and surrounding areas.

An additional 107 individuals are accused of terrorism for their roles in the attacks against the Christians and the public prosecutors have brought charges against them in federal court.  Eight individuals suspected to be among the masterminds of the violence are still at large and Ethiopian authorities are searching for them.

The violence against Christians started on March 2 and continued for a week. ICC was the first organization to break the news about the attacks, warning of the impending destruction. Our supporters responded to the plight of the victims byproviding for their emergency needs and signing a petition seeking justice on their behalf.

Speaking to ICC, an Ethiopian church leader said, “I am glad that the rule of law prevailed and the church has finally got protection from the government. The judges who looked at these cases have delivered justice. We are happy that the truth has finally been revealed.”

Ethiopia is a Christian majority country and was one of the first nations to accept Christianity. However, in the areas of the country where Muslims are the majority, Christians face attacks.

“We welcome the decision of Ethiopian courts. We hope that the decision sends a strong message to radical Muslims that violence against innocents will not go unpunished. We would like to thank those who helped the victims through their prayers, their gifts, and their signatures on ICC’s petition seeking justice on behalf of the victims,” said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa.