On February 10, a Muslim mob carrying sticks, stone and fuel, attacked churches in Alaba, 320 km southwest of the capital Addis Ababa. The crowd moved from church to church destroying buildings and belongings. By the time the violence end, 26 believers, including four church workers, were injured as they tried to protect their church buildings.
The mob managed to severely damage 13 buildings, 14 motorcycles and an unknown number of bicycles belonging to different congregations along with Bibles and furniture. The mob were heard shouting ‘Alaba belongs to Islam’, and the violence seems to have begun after fake reports of Christians in a nearby town burning down a Mosque. Local Christians say that the rumour wasn’t the only reason for the attack – the churches in the area have been sharing openly about Jesus, angering some local Muslims.
When an Open Doors team arrived in Alaba they gathered all church leaders at one place to understand what had happened, and to pray. One local leader said:
“This incident came to strengthen our fellowship. I praise God. Before the attack we didn’t have strong fellowship, but this incident has brought us together.”
Open Doors have helped provide medical assistance, food and support to those affected.
Ethiopia is number 28 on the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List. Christians in Ethiopia face persecution from radical Islam, the government – and sadly, even each other. Islamic extremist has spilled over into parts of Ethiopia from Somalia, and in rural areas where Christians are a minority, they may be denied access to communal resources, or even violently attacked.The Ethiopian Orthodox Church considers itself the only ‘true’ denomination, and those who move to other denominations have been socially excluded or beaten.
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