How Many Muslims must die before EPRDF relinquishes the Ahbash Agenda?

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USCIRF Commission Chairwoman Katrina Lantos Swett said in the Commission’s recent statement

repressing religious communities in the name of countering extremism leads to more extremism, greater instability, and possibly violence.

Nobody knows what this newly emerging trend of assaulting Muslims is seeking to achieve, or where it is really heading. One thing is certain though. In trying to stop Ethiopian Muslims from demanding their legitimate rights by the use of force, the EPRDF regime is heading in the most dangerous direction that is likely to trigger a nationwide violence and bloodshed. This is more so because the government’s assault is targeting religious communities who strongly believe they must defend their religion and/or religious identity.

How Many Muslims must die before EPRDF relinquishes the Ahbash Agenda?

Ethiopian Federal Police Forces have reportedly raided on Sunday a Mosque and a Medresa (Qur’an School) in WoldiaEthiopian Federal Police Forces have reportedly raided on Sunday a Mosque town, North Wollo Zone of the Amhara Regional State.

Details are still pouring in from local sources.

According to the sources, three women who were in the mosque at the time of the raid were taken by the Federal Police to the town’s Police Station. The cause of the raid on Salam Mosque and Madrasatul Salam could not be ascertained.

This comes a few days after the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a statement calling the Ethiopian government to respect the constitutionally enshrined religious freedoms of its Muslim citizens.

Only a day before, Federal Police Forces carried out somehow a similar raid in the town Kemise in Oromia Zone of the Amhara State. … According to sources, through out Saturday night the Federal Police were violently breaking into the compounds and residential houses of several Muslims in Kemise, and carried out searches. What or who they were looking for was not clearly known.

As with Addis Ababa and several other towns across the country, local Muslims in the small town of Kemise often hold weekly mosque-based protest against government interference in religious affairs. One can only guess Saturday’s search may have targeted people who might have been identified as protest organizers. Several young people have reportedly fled the town before the federal police arrived, fearing possible violent reprisal attacks.

This is not the first time Federal Police forces raided Muslim dominated towns in Amhara Regional State.

A similar raid carried out on October 20 and 21, 2012 by Federal Police Forces in the town of Gerba, South Wollo Zone of the Amhara State, grew violent and resulted in the killing of at least five Muslim residents. Several others sustained varying degrees of injuries.

The notorious Ethiopian Television, a well-known propaganda machine of the ruling EPRDF, labeled those killed in the Gerba incident as “extremists.” … In 2011, the Ethiopian government grossly branded the so-called “Wahabis” as “extremists.” Such branding is officially voiced by the Minister of Federal Affairs Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam in a press conference he gave to local journalists then.

And now, the government applies this undefined term – “extremism” – in its attempt to justify the extra-judiciary killings of innocent citizens in Gerba. It did the same in May this year when Federal Police forces killed seven Muslims in Asasa town, Arsi Zone of the Oromia Regional State. The violence in Asasa town was triggered by Federal Police Forces who raided a local mosque to arrest the Imam (prayer leader). The excuse for the mosque raid in Asasa given at the time was nothing other than “an attempt to arrest suspected extremists.”

USCIRF Commission Chairwoman Katrina Lantos Swett said in the Commission’s recent statement “repressing religious communities in the name of countering extremism leads to more extremism, greater instability, and possibly violence.”

Nobody knows what this newly emerging trend of assaulting Muslims is seeking to achieve, or where it is really heading. One thing is certain though. In trying to stop Ethiopian Muslims from demanding their legitimate rights by the use of force, the EPRDF regime is heading in the most dangerous direction that is likely to trigger a nationwide violence and bloodshed. This is more so because the government’s assault is targeting religious communities who strongly believe they must defend their religion and/or religious identity.

With such a conviction, Ethiopian Muslims have been protesting against the government’s bold interference in their religion for the past eleven months in the most peaceful manner the country has never seen before. However, their consistent peaceful protests have not been reciprocated with a just response by the government. During the last five months, the government detained the peoples’ representatives, religious preachers, journalists and artists whom it charged on October 29 with terrorism under the infamous anti-terror law. Several hundreds of Muslims across the country have also been detained at various times in connection with the protests.

Despite the delicate nature of the issue and the fragility of the situation to get out of control, the ruling EPRDF remains adamant to the peoples’ legitimate demands. It also continues to attribute the nationwide peaceful Muslim protests to “a few extremists.”

From what we have seen in Asasa and Gerba, Muslims who resist actions commonly viewed as illegal, such as arbitrary arrest and search, (these are actions sanctioned by the infamous anti-terror law), are nothing but “extremists” and hence “legitimate targets” for Federal Police forces to gun down. … Then ETV will tell the ‘tale’ of the “extremists killed…”. This horrible trend must be checked now, before it is too late. Otherwise, nobody can rule out the possibility of this regime to commit crimes against humanity and/or ‘genocide.’ Does this sound a bit exaggerated? We do not think so. We, Ethiopians, have already seen how brutal this regime is when nearly 200 stone throwing protestors in Addis Ababa were ruthlessly massacred in two separate incidents in 2005. That atrocity might have quelled the violence that erupted in connection with EPRDF’s vote rigging in the 2005 national elections. … However, such atrocity is unlikely to quell the demands of Ethiopian Muslims to have their religious rights respected.

So far 12 persons have been killed in the course of this peaceful movement – seven in Asasa and 5 in Gerba. How many Muslims must EPRDF kill before it realizes it is impossible to impose a certain sect upon millions of people by force, or by any other means? … How Many Muslims have to die before EPRDF totally abandons the Ahbash Agenda, with all its negative ramifications? … These questions recall in many people’s mind the famous protest song by Bob Dylan. A couple of lines from the song ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ perfectly fit this article:

“How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see …

How many years must one man have
Before he can hear people cry …

How many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free …”
***
The answer, my friend, …… Only Allah, the Most Exalted, knows.

Posted on November 13, 2012, in Human Right, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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