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ETHIOPIA: COMMUNAL VIOLENCE THREATENS PROGRESS
-- Elizabeth Kendal
|Ethiopia: an ethic-federation|
click on map to enlarge
On 4 February two mosques were torched in Esta woreda (district), South Gondar zone of Amhara region. North of Addis Ababa, South Gondar zone is roughly 96.5 percent Ethiopian Orthodox and 3.5 percent Muslim. Muslims decorating a venue for a wedding had found a Christian image among their shredded papers. Eager to avoid any misunderstanding, they met with Christian leaders and resolved the matter peacefully. It was later that afternoon that the two mosques were burned. The Sheik is convinced that people with political motives incited the unprecedented attack, hoping to trigger sectarian unrest. On 10 February a mosque was torched in Endabet Jara Gedo woreda of Southern Gondar. Local residents joined together to put the fire out before the building was engulfed.
|Remains of Kale Hiwot Galeto church,|
Alaba Kulito (photo: Steadfast Global).
More images VOMCanada.
|A Call for Unity: Ethiopians celebrate 123-year anniversary |
of the Battle of Adwa (2 March).
In 1974, Protestant Christianity comprised 5 percent of the population. In the 2007 census, it comprised 18.6 percent. Most growth has occurred this century, and many new Protestants are (like PM Abiy Ahmed) converts from Islam. There is also a growing renewal movement within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This work of the Spirit is gravely imperilled by the current threat. A fierce spiritual battle for Ethiopia is under way.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL
* raise up strong leadership in Christian communities; leaders who can guide impressionable and vulnerable youths to reject incitement and grow in grace.
* bless and protect vulnerable Christian minorities in hostile regions; may incitement against them come to nought; may grace abound as those who bear the cross 'shine like stars in the universe' (from Philippians 2:12-18)
* complete the good work that he has begun in the nation of Ethiopia; may no plan of God's be thwarted. May the Lord bless PM Abiy Ahmed and keep him safe and humble with 'eyes fixed on Jesus' (Hebrews 12:2).
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE THREATENS PROGRESS IN ETHIOPIA
The great reform work being done by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed could be undone if escalating communal violence cannot be contained. More than 2.4 million Ethiopians are now displaced because of communal violence, much of which is believed to be incited by political elements opposed to PM Abiy's reforms. In early February, three mosques were burnt in a majority Christian region in the north, while at least ten churches were burnt in a majority Muslim region in the south. As in the more numerous cases of pure ethnic violence, majorities are attacking minorities and local police are not intervening. In each case of religious violence, it was incited by a false report and then carefully organised. Please pray that God will complete the good work he has begun in Ethiopia.
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).