Ethiopia jails hundreds in Muslim attacks on Christians over Koran rumour

By Reuters Staff
July 1, 2011

(A destroyed Protestant church in Asendabo, 300 km (200 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa, March 16, 2011, after Muslim youths attacked Christians/Aaron Maasho )

An Ethiopian court has sentenced 558 people to jail terms ranging from six months to 25 years for attacks on Christians that displaced thousands and led 69 churches to be burned to the ground. More than 4,000 members of local Protestant denominations were forced to flee near the town of Asendabo, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of the capital, in March during a rare bout of religious violence.

Mobs of Muslim youths carried out week-long attacks on Protestants after rumours that desecrated pages from the Koran had been found at a church construction site. Authorities reported a single death from the attacks.

“They were punished for their involvement in instigating and participating in religious disturbances in western Ethiopia,” government spokesman Shimelis Kemal said of the court cases. Forty-four people were acquitted.

Regional officials told Reuters almost all the displaced people have returned to their homes, some of which were repaired with support from local Muslims. Authorities, keen to avoid further fall-out between the two groups, have held several meetings in the area and claim normalcy has returned.

In March, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi blamed a little-known local Muslim group of preaching intolerance in the region, and warned of growing religious tensions in the Christian-dominated country. “We knew that they were peddling this ideology of intolerance, but it was not possible for us to stop them administratively because they are within their rights,” he said.

The Horn of Africa nation is 60 percent Christian, a majority being followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and 30 percent Muslim. March’s attacks came as a major surprise in a country where most take pride in centuries-old coexistence and intermarriage.

via Hundreds jailed for religious attacks in Ethiopia, by Aaron Maasho.


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In Him, anything is possible.

Posted by Arbaminch | Report as abusive

A small, “little known” group? Marginal groups do not result in mass assaults, the displacement of several thousand and the detention of nearly 600. . . . And Reuters, your islamophelic narrative would be more convincing if such attacks were not also occurring in Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan and Egypt (the Christians and other non-muslims have already been cleansed from most of the other islamic paradises in that area, so don’t take the absence of reportage as evidence of peace and tolerance.)

Posted by Omar22 | Report as abusive

Why did this article not appear on Reuters Africa? Was this an editorial decision? Or am I missing something?

Posted by moriarty6 | Report as abusive

Who says it didn’t appear on Reuters Africa? Just click on the link at the bottom and you’ll see it did. Try jumping to links before jumping to conclusions.

No matter how many churches these sick terrorists burn to the ground, WE will never stop our worship of God and Jesus Christ. We have been through this for Centuries and it has never stopped our resolve. FOR WE ARE MANY!!!
Praise to God and his church.

Posted by Pun1 | Report as abusive

Whether we are many or few, one man, with God, makes a majority.

Posted by dianiline | Report as abusive