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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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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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