Ethiopia: Muslims urge probe into torching of mosques

26th Dec 2019
Ethiopia: Muslims urge probe into torching of mosques

By Addis Getachew and Seleshi Tessema

 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA): Muslims in Ethiopia condemned the weekend torching of mosques and Muslim-owned businesses in the country.

A demonstration on Tuesday in Jijjiga, a Muslim-dominated city in the east, urged an investigation into the arson attacks.

Over the weekend, four mosques and a church were burned down by angry mobs and a clash between the Christian and Muslim communities erupted in Mota city of the Amhara regional state.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the burning of the places of worship was the work of “extremists” calling the act “unacceptable”. In a tweet, he described the attacks as “attempts by extremists to breakdown our rich history of religious tolerance and coexistence”.

This was followed by a statement from Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye who said strong measures would be taken against the perpetrators.

15 suspects have been arrested.

The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council has also deplored the burning of places of worship and called for immediate investigation.

Muslim scholar Kamil Shemsu on Tuesday told The Associated Press news agency there are “political actors who want to pit one religious group against another” and blamed the negative role of activists and videos circulated online.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has also issued a statement condemning the burning of centers of worship.

In February, two mosques have been burned down in northeastern Ethiopia, in a suspected campaign to encourage inter-faith conflict.

The mosques were torched in Este, South Gondar, in Amhara state, the country’s second-most populous region.

[Archive photo: Al-Nejashi mosque in Tigray region, Ethiopia, restored by Turkey/ Photo by AA]

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