Documentary : “The Movement: Ethiopian Muslims Demand a Secular and Democratic State”

December 13,2016

A documentary entitled “The Movement: Ethiopian Muslims Demand a Secular and Democratic State” is uploaded on Raadiyoo Daandii Haqaa ‘s YouTube channel. Apparently, it is a production of Raadiyoo Daandii Haqaa itself.

The documentary recounts the struggle of Ethiopian Muslims , Dimtsachin Yesema, against government intervention and imposition of new religious creed.

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In doing so, it vividly portrayed the state of freedom of expression in Ethiopia by highlighting repressive measures that the regime took to make sure that free press is incapacitated to function the way it is supposed to, how the notion of the “war on terror” is perverted in a way to craft repressive machinery to brutally repress dissent and how Tigray people’s Liberation Front dominated state and society – among other things. In that regard, the documentary could be seen as a success and as an important tool to demonstrate the level of repression in Ethiopia under the ruling party.

However, references to realities of relation between the state and Ethiopian Muslims could be more accurate. For example, imposition of new state sponsored Islamic creed on Ethiopian Muslims by the ruling Tigray People’s liberation Front is equated with the history of Ethiopian Muslims as a “second class citizen” which is not really accurate.

Those two items need to be analyzed in different context – as they should be. Furthermore, reference to Ethiopian Muslims in history should not omit the fact that Ethiopia was the first country to receive Islam at a time when the followers of Prophet Mohammed were persecuted in Mecca. The first Hejira is a significant by all measures. In fact, it is possible peaceful religious coexistence between Ethiopian Christians and Ethiopian Muslims, the reminiscent of which exists in places like Wollo,could be attributed to that tradition.

Finally, it has to be told like it is that Ethiopian Muslims need to make due caution in order for “The Movement” not to be hijacked by radical ethno-nationalists.

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