The Prime Minister is upsetting a large number of Muslims through the excesses of his campaign against Wahhabism.
There is a risk of strong tension throughout the country as worshipers leave the mosques on 11 May. There could be demonstrations, comparable with the one in Addis Ababa on 4 May which gathered a crowd of several thousand. This movement is protesting against the government’s Ahbashism campaign that uses Lebanese Muslim clerics to fight against Ethiopian preachers considered too close to Wahhabism (ION 1329). However, these reactions were fuelled by the brutal repression, resulting in deaths, of other demonstrations last week in the town of Assasa.
The government, for its part, is arguing that it is only campaigning against preachers who have links to the al Qaeda terrorist movement. On 4 May it expelled two of them from Arab countries who were allegedly calling for jihad in front of the Anwar grand mosque in Addis Ababa. Many Muslims place little credence on this story, which is too convenient for the government, looking much as if it has been devised specifically to confirm the administration’s line. In the run up to May 11, the State media portrayed future demonstrations as actions manipulated by the opposition.
* Originally published on the Indian Ocean Newsletter (ION), on May 12, 2012, titled ‘Ethiopia – Meles upsets the Muslims’.
Note: Though some claim the Indian Ocean Newsletter uses French diplomats and intelligence officers, and that assumption apparently helped it charge exorbitant fees , its Ethiopian news items should be taken with a grain of salt.
For example; it made the same mistake I did in the previous post by claiming a major demonstration is expected on May 11. However, readers of this blog indicated that the day was set for a ‘silent protest’, thus the absence of demonstrations on that date.
Check the Ethiopian Muslims archive for previous and forthcoming posts.