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AFP : Ethiopian churches oppose gay travel company’s tour plans

gay travel
Gay travel to Holy sites in Ethiopia met with resistance

June 4, 2019

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s religious leaders on Monday urged the government to block a US gay travel company from touring the country’s ancient sites, and one group warned visiting homosexuals could face violence.

The Chicago-based Toto Tours, which describes itself on its website as “the only gay tour company in existence” that has been operating with the same ownership and management for almost three decades, told AFP it has received death threats since announcing a 16-day trip to Ethiopia, which includes numerous historical religious sites.

Their itinerary has sparked ire in Ethiopia, which like many in Africa is deeply homophobic and has strict anti-gay laws, punishing homosexual acts with up to 15 years in prison.

“Tour programmes and dating programmes that try to use our historical sites and heritage should be immediately stopped by the Ethiopian government and we urge Ethiopians supporting these sinful and evil acts to desist from their acts,” Tagay Tadele of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia told journalists.

The council counts seven Islamic and Christian denominations as members.

An influential Ethiopian Orthodox organisation, the Sileste Mihret United Association, also held a press conference Monday to condemn the tour company.

“Homosexuality is hated as well as being illegal in Ethiopia. Toto Tours are wrong to plan to conduct tours in our religious and historical places,” the organisation’s vice chairman, Dereje Negash, told AFP.

“If Toto Tours comes to Ethiopia where 97 percent of Ethiopians surveyed oppose homosexuality, they will be damaged, they could even die,” he said.

Dan Ware, the president of Toto Tours, said the company had been “terribly misunderstood”, in an email to AFP.

“Our company is not aimed at spreading values contrary to local cultures when we travel around the world. We are simply an organization where like-minded people can travel comfortably together to experience the world’s most precious wonders.

“We come with only the greatest respect and humility.”

He said the tour had been advertised on the company’s social media pages and spotted within Ethiopia, leading to “death threats”, and called for protection for the tour group from both the US State Department and the Ethiopian tourism ministry.

“This is terrible discrimination, and when the word of this spreads internationally, as it is most likely to do, it will have a negative impact on the important tourism industry in Ethiopia.”

He said that by the time the tour takes place in October “the eyes of the entire world will be on the people of Ethiopia to see what happens to us.”

Twenty-eight out of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws penalising same-sex relationships, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Some countries, like Angola, Mozambique and Seychelles, have moved to scrap anti-gay laws.

However Kenya’s high court earlier this month refused to do so, in a major blow to gay activists on the continent.


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  1. Omg I’m Ethiopian and not in a million years will I allow homosexuals to visit my country. Ethiopia is an old historical country with many holy places and this stupid whores want to step on the holy heritages hahaha in their dreams ok. Tell them once they come in Ethiopia they won’t get out alive cause homosexuality here in Ethiopia is a sin for God’s sake. Who knows maybe they won’t pass the airport because Ethiopian peoples are willing to take any risk to flee them to their country. Oooff this bitches tell them not to come unless they want war.

  2. Elbethel kassahun what u said in the above is right, don’t even think of stepping a foot in our country or u will not get out of here alive ur a dead meat

  3. Subject: “AFP : Ethiopian churches oppose gay travel company’s tour plans, AFP
    June 4, 2019”

    Commentary, 5 June 2019

    I am NOT — and have NEVER been — a deliberate antagonist to freedom of expression and behaviour. I believe, every individual is free to exercise his/her freedom and way of Life but with one CARDINAL obligation i.e. to respect the Rights and Freedom of others too.

    Humorous Example:
    Let me give a humorous example that I heard a long time ago:
    * A visitor to the famous Piccadilly Square was walking happily and swinging his umbrella;
    * A British gentleman walking just behind alerted the happy chap in these words: “Sir, your umbrella is getting to be dangerous”;
    * The chap reacted with a pride of his new freedom: “I am free — I can do anything with my umbrella”.
    * The Britisher with the legendary posture of gentleman-ship said: ” That may be so, but your freedom ends where my nose begins” THE END

    The visitation by the “US gay travel company” to the ancient Ethiopian monasteries is a DELIBERATE antagonism to destroy the ancient religious monasteries from their foundations — without consideration of the ancient religious belief and feelings. IT IS CRUEL, to say the least.

    Ethiopian Government have the responsibility to maintain peaceful atmosphere for a SANE DEVELOPMENT in the Country (without being destabilized), respecting the ancient culture and morality of the Society.

  4. Diasporaw ityopia,

    Min yahel disconnected endehonachehu, weyem, yemerabawian global hunetna bezeh betemelekete, yetermare/awkalehu tebeyew ityopiawi min yahel ke ityopia/bahlua/kerstianu disconnected endehonachehu yehew aand milikit niw. Yemitekaw bemechersha lai Orthodox nat. TPLF balew deba, ityopian media lai lemawtat yesherebew sera, enezih derejetochin endimetu siyadergu, You Tube lai, “g/sedomawianen enetelalen” yemil ye betekerstain tewekai be alem media lai aweta. Awkalehu/diaspora tebyew, yihen askedemachehu, kene daniel kibretem hone badebabai yihen yalew, tenegagrew endet lalem media malet yalebachewen mazegajet neberebachehu. ityopiawiw eza yalew besemet silemiyaweru yihem awko ityopian hezb lemanaded yetesherebe sera provoke selenebere, ityopiawiw askedemo mekir lebetekerstianua weyem, betekerestiananu wekeye enageralehu yemil, serat balew, melekt menor neber. Ahun itopiian/b/kerestianuan lemektat eremeja awropa hone amerika yihen meknyat argew telek teseno endemiyasayu ergetegna negn. Ay diaspora, Ay awkalehu tebyew. Endewem endet kezih yetemelese sint ityopiawi alu, endewem bekerb, yihe b/kerstian meglecha kemawtatachew befit negeger berasachew menegager neberebachew. Uganda yezare 5 amet endezihu belew neber, amerikam hone awropa yemirdedutin genzeb aswegedeu, be hiv/aids bezu siw mote beuhala eshi belew ugandan tekebelu. Yihe sera, kewest telat ena kewech telat yetesera sera ityopia g/sedom tetelalaech lemasbal niw. bahun gize enesun mekawem, gedel niw yemiketut.

  5. these types of acts is not in a state where it can freely be accepted by a country like ethiopia there are so many question but not asking them is better but one thing i’d like to add is the fact that you people said we visted this and that place in africa. the problem is you are not visting any country like africa for the fact that you are visting a holy place let alone in a land of anti gay law. we dont know your agenda you even might have vistied this place secretly and individualy we are not saying gays are clean in here but you stating your community out loud sounds a disrespect to our culture. i am a muslim person also saying churches are not to be disrespected neither mosques or our country. if we say dont come then dont its that easy!

  6. Come to Ethiopia(Holly-Land) you will see what Ethiopian look like for their religion, am sure ! am ready to die for my land and my religion!

    • wow really !!…personally I don’t like being disrespect ful or insulting people but honestly this issue makes me loose my self ..what are u guys thinking??…don’t u know what kind of country Ethiopia is incase u don’t let me introduce u using few words Ethiopia is simply the land of religion it is the land of Christians and muslims we don’t care about how u think of us but we do care about God and our youngers . .don’t even think about it ..seriousely just forget it that way we can forgive u for ur insult!!

  7. This is the biggest mistake in the world. It is good if you do not commit this act. Otherwise, my warfare would be enough.
    You need to set up a cookie box before you arrive in Ethiopia.

  8. Wooow. in all the countries they can visit they choose Ethiopia. they want to pull a hero game just by Visiting a Forbidden land. they’ll definitely regret it once they step their foot in Ethiopia. pffff!! Whites!! I don’t get them.

  9. super patriotic

    why did you fail to work together for oneness and development of ethiopia. You should develop respect and honor to your own fellow ethiopians as well regardless of thier ethinicty and religion.

    You all here inspired me to feel as memeber of your unified nation. I start to forget the division created by elites from in and outside.


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