The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council called on the government to respect the sanctity of places of worship
August 24, 2020
Days after the killing of an Imam in Assassa — which is said to be a killing linked to the action of government forces — Oromo region of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) called on the government to discharge its responsibility to discharge the task of maintaining peace and security, and honor the sanctity of places of worship.
The Imam was reportedly killed last week in the premises of a Mosque while delivering spiritual service.
In a statement issued on Monday, Islamic Affairs Council expressed sadness “over what happened in Ethiopia following the brutal killing of Hachalu Hundessa,” which happened in the early weeks of July 2020.
The incident, which appears to be a planned one as findings from government investigations revealed, claimed the lives of at least 240 civilians who had nothing to do with the killings of Hachalu Hundessa. Thousands of businesses and residential homes were also burned. Based on data provided by the government and from the reports of a group of journalists who travelled to the places in Oromo region which were affected by the attacks, it is widely believed the attack mostly targeted non-Oromo Ethiopians and the followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Church (when the victims are oromos). The statement from the council does seem to reject the narrative.
“As much as what had happened at the time in the Oromo region of Ethiopia at the time, we have observed what looks like a coordinated activity to give the issue a religious appearance,” said the statement from Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council. However, it did not specifically mention the actors behind the “coordinated activity.”
Furthermore, the statement asserted that the effort to give the incident a religious character had its own negative impact in a way that could erode the peace and stability, and unity of the people.
It also made the point that all community members are affected by the attack [the July 2020 attack].”
“While It is clear that the Muslim community suffered loss of lives and destruction of properties as much as others, different media outlets painted the attack as if it was targeting a specific entity,” the council said.
For EIASC, the “coordinated activity” is intended to divide the people of Ethiopia and create instability to achieve “their own agenda.” The pronoun is used in a reference to the alleged entity who is said to be behind the campaign of coordinated activity but again it is not specifically named.
The statement also said that the killing of the Imam in Assassin is an additional indication [of the effort to divide Ethiopians]. Moreover, it said that it is a puzzle that the incidents were not reported and condemned by the media.
EIASC called on the government to bring perpetrators of the attack on the Imam in Assasa to justice and an end for forceful measures in places of worship and burial places.
It also called on the Muslim community to not be confused by the provocative action but rather to stand in guard of peace, along with “other compatriots”, in their respective localities.
While condemning the attacks on civilians and destruction of properties (and this one seems to be related to the early July incident), EIASC called on the government to carry out its function of maintaining peace and security.
The Council is investigating the matter and will issue statements as needed, it was said.
Image of the statement (in Amharic) is shown below.
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