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By BosNewsLife Africa Service

ethiopia.map_ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (BosNewsLife)-- Ethiopia has detained two Christian men on charges of "crimes against Islam" in a move that rights activists said was influenced by "radical Muslims", BosNewsLife learned Saturday, June 15.

In late March, local police reportedly detained Alemlayehu Legese, a student at Dodola Mekane Yesus Bible School, for admitting to owning literature that “discussed the history of Islam from a Christian perspective.”

Advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC), which has contacts in the area, said the arrest came after a Muslim employee at a local shop saw the book and reported him.

Legese remained behind bars Saturday, June 15, with police reportedly saying it was meant to "cool down the anger of local Muslims."

Fellow believer Tamirat Woldegiorgis, a Christian living in Moyale Town, was detained May 25, after being accused by Muslims of writing “Jesus is Lord in a student’s notebook, according to ICC investigators.

EARLIER PRISON TERM

Woldegiorgis was already detained for 22 months, from 2010 to 2012, by local police for “crimes against Islam”, though no such crime exists in the country’s penal code, ICC said.

He was released on June 5 after paying a bail of $5,319, according to trial observers. There was concern over the plight of Legese, with ICC saying he has been held for several months as "police officers treated this incident as if it were a terrorist attack.”

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, William Stark, said he was concerned that authorities violate the Ethiopian Constitution and the country’s laws protecting freedom of religion. "Both Tamirat Woldegiorgis and Alemlayehu Legese are being denied that right and have reported being terrorized by their captors because of their Christian faith," he added

"These Christian men are being unlawfully punished for 'crimes against Islam' as interpreted by local police who are being influenced by radical pressures or ideologies.”

It comes amid wider concerns over the spread of Islamic extremism in Africa. Officials did not immediately comment on when and if Legese will be released and future legal steps against the devoted Christians.

(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since 2004). 

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2 Responses to “Ethiopia Detains Christians For ‘Crimes Against Islam’”

  1. Observer Says:

    Thank you for the news. Hope, the secular Ethiopian government will put an end to this kinds of plight in the name of religion against people in remote muslim dominated areas of the country.

    But, to kindly comment on the way you are presenting your news about Ethiopia: For an outsider, starting from the titles and almost all the texts of your articles on the subject portray Ethiopia as an Islamic country, which is not correct. Ethiopia is a country where 70% of its population is christian. Traditionally in history, Christianity used to be the official religion of the country, which came to an end after the revolution in 1970s. Since then, Ethiopia has been ruled by secular governments which separate religion from the state affairs. Now, in some regions of the country, especially the remote and lowland ones, where muslims are the majority, like in the eastern and extreme southern part of the country, you might see this kind of problem once in a while. And, usually the government takes corrective measures, although it is criticized for not taking preventive measures. The bottom line is, your stories might convey a distorted image of the country. Ethiopia is a country where, by and large, both muslims and christians live in harmony, which actually can be taken as an example for the rest of the world! You should include this sort of info in your stories not to mislead your readers, and this is important for the country! Pointing at an isolated incident and making it look like the general picture is dangerous.
    Thanks

  2. Disgraceful Says:

    Ethiopia is an orthodox Christian country you delusional idiots. Don’t come here with your perverted sham, abusing the name of the faith. Ethiopians, Christians and Muslims, out of which orthodox Christians are a majority, do not want you in our country. We were Christians when your ancestors were trying to figure out if they should raid the next village or pray to an idol first. We are the reason Christianity spread, amongst other orthodox nations. Do not ever try to teach the professor nation Christianity, it is thanks to the likes of us you know it

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