Oh, BOO BOO! Muslims in Ethiopia are whining about being treated like ‘terrorists.’ Maybe that’s because so many of them are. And at 34% of the population, rising fast as a result of Muslim overbreeding, they are on the verge of grabbing control of the government and ethnically cleansing the Christians, as they do in every country…sooner or later.
Str8talk Hundreds of thousands of irate Ethiopian Muslims took to the streets of Addis Ababa this weekend – Africa’s biggest protests since Tahrir Square. They want the government to stop meddling in their religious affairs, and acknowledge that Muslims can’t remain a marginalised minority. Ethiopia’s Christian-led government better make some concessions quickly, or risk finding out exactly how many irate Muslims there really are.
While reports are hard to confirm, participants claimed that somewhere between 500,000 and one million Muslims gathered in and around one of the city’s main mosques in a blatant show of defiance against the Christian-led government, while smaller marches took place in other cities across the country.
Sunday was the third consecutive day of protests and mosque sit-ins, and already hundreds are reported arrested or injured by the government response, which has definitely included the liberal use of tear gas and – again according to participant claims – live rounds.
Meles Zenawi’s government is having to contend with a new threat. According to official statistics, Muslims make up 34% of the population; Ethiopian Orthodox Christians 44%; and various Protestant groupings another 17%. But the Muslim population is growing so quickly that, even taking these numbers at face value, Muslims are projected to become the majority in Ethiopia by 2050.
A more recent spark for the unrest has been the government’s perceived meddling in religious affairs by encouraging and supporting one minority Muslim sect over the more mainstream others. Terrified of the potential emergence of Al Shabaab-style fundamentalist Islam, Zenawi’s administration has promoted one particular sect of Islam, the Al Ahbash, which opposes ultra-conservative ideology and rejects violence.
All this takes place against the backdrop of a highly autocratic state. Meles Zenawi would describe it as a benevolent autocracy, but human rights watchdogs would beg to differ. “Ethiopian authorities continued to severely restrict basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Hundreds of Ethiopians in 2011 were arbitrarily arrested and detained and remain at risk of torture and ill-treatment,” wrote Human Rights Watch in their World Report 2012.