Sunday, November 11, 2012

U.S. Accuses Ethiopia Of Repressing Muslim Minority

Ethiopia, with its Christian majority, is in a precarious position. Next door is  al-Shabaab, those backward, militant Muslim yobs who are causing so much trouble in Somalia. Naturally, the Ethiopian government fears that radical Islam could migrate westward into their country, so they've apparently been trying to control their own Muslim population (around 33% of the population) to prevent that from happening.  This has not gone over very well with either the Muslims (most of whom are moderate Sufi) or the West- more specifically, the U.S.

According to Ethiopian Muslims, the government has been attempting to force them to follow the al-Ahbash sect of Islam -a non-political, moderate version- although the government denies this.  As a result, they've taken to the streets in protest  In turn, the government has so far arrested 29 allegedly "peaceful" protesters, charging them with "planning to commit terrorist acts".  And now, our meddling government  has decided to step in where it doesn't belong.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) concluded that:

“The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government's attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia," the Commission said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Ethiopian officials were unavailable for comment on the statement from the Commission, whose members are appointed by President Barack Obama and senior Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

Commission Chairwoman Katrina Lantos Swett called on the U.S. government to raise the issue with Addis Ababa.

“USCIRF has found that repressing religious communities in the name of countering extremism leads to more extremism, greater instability, and possibly violence,” she said.

“Given Ethiopia’s strategic importance in the Horn of Africa ... it is vital that the Ethiopian government end its religious freedom abuses and allow Muslims to practice peacefully their faith as they see fit,” she added. “Otherwise the government's current policies and practices will lead to greater destabilization of an already volatile region.”
Why hasn't this commission done anything about the massive abuses that occur in Muslim majority countries where religious minorities are truly persecuted and discriminated against, if they're even allowed to practice their faith?

Ethiopian Government officials believe that some of those that have been protesting since 2011 are actually being funded by Middle Eastern Islamist groups. They've also witnessed (as we all have) what's been happening in other African countries, and all across the Middle East, where Islamism has begun to flourish, and they don't want that happening at home.

If the U.S. tries to meddle in Ethiopian affairs, are they willing to take responsibility if extremist Islam takes root in that country?  Do they even care?  Under an Obama administration, probably not.

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