Ethiopian Muslims protest after several mosques burned

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The December 20 attacks in Motta town, also targeted Muslim-owned businesses

Dec 24, 2019

December 24, 2019

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Thousands of Muslims across Ethiopia in recent days have protested the burning of four mosques in the Amhara region.

The December 20 attacks in Motta town, more than 350 kilometres north of the capital Addis Ababa, also targeted Muslim-owned businesses. Muslims have called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

On Saturday, five people were arrested for the attacks on the mosques in Amhara.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called the attacks “attempts by extremists to break down our rich history of religious tolerance and coexistence.” Recent ethnic-based unrest in some parts of the country has at times taken religious form.

“I condemn such acts of cowardice and call upon all peace-loving Ethiopians to draw upon our deep knowledge of coexistence and our reservoir of respect,” he added.

Prominent Muslim scholar Kamil Shemsu on Tuesday told The Associated Press there are “political actors who want to pit one religious group against another” and blamed the negative role of activists and videos circulated online.

Amhara regional officials said they have arrested 15 suspects in connection with the attacks. Police commander Jemal Mekonnen told state media the attacks appeared to be triggered by news of a fire that broke out in an Orthodox church a few days earlier.

Regional officials were criticised for their slow response and their inability to stop similar attacks.

Many communities across Ethiopia have seen demonstrations, including in Addis Ababa.

Updated: December 24, 2019 10:41 PM

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