Islamist Mobs in Ethiopia Destroy Church Buildings

Addis Abab: On 2 March a Church in church in the area of Asendabo, some 250 kilometres southwest of Addis Abab was destroyed by a rampaging crowd of Muslims, incited by a rumour that a Christian had desecrated a Qu’ran. It was the beginning of a number of concerted attacks during the following days, which spread to Chiltie, Gilgel Gibe, Gibe, Nada, Dimtu, Uragay, Busa and Koticha, mostly on Protestant churches. When it ended an estimated 69 churches had destroyed; 10,000 Christians displaced from their homes and one Orthodox Christian was also killed. This area has a population almost equally divided between Christians (48.7%) and Muslims (47.5%).
Attacks on churches have been a common occurrence in predominantly Muslim areas of Ethiopia like Jimma and Jijiga and Christians are often subject to harassment and intimidation.
Eventually 558 people were sentenced to imprisonment, for terms ranging from six months to 25 years for these attacks. Regional officials reported that almost all the displaced people were returned to their homes, some of which had been repaired with support from local Muslims. The Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, blamed a little-known local Muslim group for preaching intolerance in the region, and warned of growing religious tensions in the Christian-dominated country.

Glastonbury Review Issue: 120, July 2011

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