Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ethiopia airs jihadi film amid sensitive Muslim protest trial

(Feb 14, 2013, The Christian Science Monitor)--The strategic Horn of Africa country is one-third Muslim and two-thirds Christian; why is its state-TV ginning up religious tension?

Ethiopia, a US ally in the battle against Al Qaeda-affiliated militants in Somalia, added to mounting worries about religious discord in the diverse east African state by screening a provocative documentary on Islamic extremism.

Ethiopian Muslims are furious about the film, which they say dishonestly blurs the distinction between legitimate political protest and violence by using lurid images of foreign terrorists that have nothing to do with them.

The program, Jihadawi Harekat (Holy War Movement), ran on state-TV at peak watching hours last week, and it associates local Muslim protesters now on trial with militant groups such as Nigeria's brutal Boko Haram movement and Somalia's Al Shabab, as well as unrelated Ethiopian militants.

Currently, 29 leaders of a Muslim protest movement, and representatives of two Islamic charities are on trial in Addis Ababa, facing charges of plotting violence to create an Islamic state. The trial is being held behind closed doors in order to protect some 200 witnesses, according to the government. Read more from The Christian Science Monitor »

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