Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Muslim Protests in Ethiopia Reveal Religious Fault Lines

(Aug 01, 2012, NAIROBI, VOA)--An Ethiopian Muslim protest movement has quieted down since the arrests of key organizers two weeks ago in Addis Ababa. The government crackdown has aggravated tensions between Muslim and Ethiopian authorities.

A small group of Muslims began organizing demonstrations at mosques in the Ethiopian capital earlier this year to protest the perceived interference by the Ethiopian government into religious affairs. Among their demands, the protesters called for new elections for the country's Islamic Affairs Supreme Council to be held in mosques, rather than in government offices.

Tensions reached their peak on July 13, when the government raided a gathering at the Awalia Mosque in Addis Ababa, where government officials said Muslim leaders were planning further protests. Ethiopian authorities said more than 70 people were arrested in the operation, including the members of the mosque's central organizing committee.

A week later, thousands of Muslims gathered at the Anwar Mosque to protest the arrests. More activists were detained following clashes with police. Federal Police Commissioner Workneh Gebeyehu, in a televised address, blamed the mosque's committee for instigating the unrest. Read more from Voice of America »

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