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Muslims jailed for attacks on Christians in Ethiopia

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Muslims jailed for attacks on Christians in Ethiopia

Country/Region: Ethiopia, Middle East and North Africa

Ethiopian courts have sentenced 579 Muslims to jail terms of up to 18 years for their part in the widespread anti-Christian violence in which scores of churches and homes were burnt down, and thousands of Christians were displaced.

Ethiopia-Church-destroyed-2nd-4X3.jpg
Scores of churches and homes were burnt down in the anti-Christian violence

Three Christians were killed and many more were injured in the barrage of attacks, which started on 2 March and continued for a week, after Muslims accused a Christian of desecrating a copy of the Quran. Thousands of Islamists were involved in the assaults, which broke out in Asendabo, Jimma Zone, before spreading systematically through five districts in the predominantly Muslim area. Around 10,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes as the rampaging Muslims set fire to 69 churches, 81 Christian homes and a Bible school. Barnabas Aid sent a grant of £25,000 (US$40,000, €28,000) to provide food, medicine, shelter, blankets and clothing for those affected by the violence.

Now, 579 Muslims have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from three months to 18 years for their part in the attacks. An additional 107 people are to face terrorism charges in connection with the violence. Eight individuals suspected to be among the masterminds of the assaults remain at large.

In May, a Barnabas Aid contact in Ethiopia expressed fears that the perpetrators would not be brought to justice after some suspects were set free.

If they get away with the burning of churches and they are not found accountable, what would stop them from causing harm to the Christians?

Speaking after the court result, an Ethiopian church leader said:

I am glad that the rule of law prevailed and the church has finally got protection from the government. The judges who looked at the cases have delivered justice. We are happy that the truth has finally been revealed.

Muslims comprise around a third of the Ethiopian population and have generally lived peacefully with the Christian majority. But Muslims are becoming increasingly radicalised by preachers who are promoting aggressive forms of Islam from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. A Christian minister said there was a campaign to "clear Christianity from the land by [the] sword". Before the violence in Jimma, an Islamic conference was held where a fourfold plan to Islamise the area was outlined: burn the churches, kill the men, marry the widows and send their children to Islamic schools.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Cry out to the Lord for 33 Christians who have been sentenced to death in North Korea. The believers are thought to have been working alongside Kim Jeong-Wook, a South Korean missionary who was arrested in October 2013. Jeong-Wook has admitted trying to “create a network of house churches in North Korea” and was also said to be carrying Bibles and other Christian literature. His alleged associates are accused of trying to overthrow the government and of receiving a large sum of money for the construction of 500 house churches. Pray that these executions will not be carried out and that international pressure will be brought to bear on North Korea to release Kim Jeong-Wook and to cease its intense anti-Christian persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 4 hours ago

  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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