Al Negashi Mosque attack is believed to be the work of TPLF forces. Some Ethiopian Muslim activists tend to speculate that it is the work of “anti-Muslim elements” of the Defense Force.
January 4, 2021
Ethiopian government law enforcement campaign in northern Ethiopia against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was completed over four weeks ago when Ethiopian Defense Forces controlled Mekelle, as reported by state media.
However, the extent of the damage was not fully revealed. This week evidence showing damage to the sides of the oldest mosque in the world which is also known to be UNESCO recognized world heritage site, Al Negashi Mosque attack, was circulating on social media.
Based on state media and Defense Force reports, TPLF was pursuing a scorched earth policy as it became evident that it was losing the war. Bridges were destroyed. Aksum airport, one of the busiest airports in the region essential for Ethiopia’s tourism industry, was destroyed, among others. TPLF has also massacred more than 1000 non-Tigrayan civilians in the town of Maikadra. All those damages were reported at the time.
The damage to Al Nejashi Mosque was not revealed at the time- possibly due to the sensitivity of the issue. And it is being interpreted politically and in a negative light.
Sadik Ahmed is one of the prominent Ethiopian Muslim activist based in Washington DC. He sees three possibilities behind the attack and one of them is what he called “anti-muslim elements,” in the Ethiopian Defense Force – a dangerous speculation. The Ethiopian Defense is understood to be perhaps one of the only institutions that unifies the country – which is somewhat demonstrated during the law enforcement operation against TPLF. He also accused Eritrean Forces whose involvement is in the war in Ethiopia is not yet verified.
Tigray region prosperity party senior leader, Abraham Belay who is also Minister of Innovation and Technology, said this week that TPLF is behind the attack on Al Negashi Mosque.
A prominent Ethiopian Muslim Scholar, Professor Ustaz Adam Kamil, said this week that the attack on the Mosque is intended for political gains.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been following a policy of addressing the concerns and issues of Ethiopian Muslims, and it is believed that he has forged strong partnership with key Muslim spiritual leaders, young and old.
Abraham Belay said that the government will start restoration work to the Al Negashi Mosque sooner rather than later.
The Islamic Affairs Supreme Council of Ethiopia has not yet released a statement regarding the attack on the mosque.
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