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For Immediate Release

Muslims attack Christians in Henno , Ethiopia

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address Contact Jeff King President, 301-989-1708, [email protected]

(October 19, 2006) – The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just been informed that on July 20, 7 Muslim leaders (clerics) brutally attacked 50 or more Christians in Henno, Ethiopia. This latest attack is just one example of the increasing violence against Christians in Ethiopia . In fact, Islamic leaders are urging Muslims in the area to kill full-time Christian evangelists.
The situation has reached such intensity that Christian leaders are in fear and moving in pairs to ward off attacks. Local Muslim authorities failed to take action against the Muslim attackers.

Henno is located in the district of Kokosa of the Oromia region, 404 kilometers South of Addis Ababa.

In 2005, two prominent Muslims in Henno converted to Christianity: “H,” a well known Muslim leader, and “M,” the son of a well-respected Muslim tribal leader. The two conversions angered Muslim leaders in the surrounding region. On July 20, 2006, “M” hosted a worship service for the other Christians in Henno and invited a choir from the Sidama region.

The worship service gained the attention of the whole village, including Muslim leaders who responded violently by instigating a riot, using gangs in the area. The gangs were carrying local weapons such as knives, stones, and metal rods.

The Muslim leaders demanded the expulsion of the choir from the area. The new believer and former Muslim leader, “H,” refused to stop the service despite their pressure. Consequently, the crowd began to beat “H” and other Christians in the house with their weapons.

“H” was beaten badly, receiving five deep wounds to his head. Because he was beaten with an iron rod, he was also missing teeth. He suffered deep lacerations to his legs, where several ligaments protruded from the skin. “H’s” daughter-in-law was pregnant at the time but lost her baby because she was also severely beaten.

In total, twelve people were seriously injured; five others were found to have lacerations on their body and received medical treatment in Shashamene Kuyera Hospital . “H” also received care and has recovered from the attack.

The Christians reported the riot to the district government administrative office, which took no legal action. Instead, the officers warned Christians not to worship in a region that is predominately Muslim. It is important to note that all officers who heard the case were in fact Muslim. The case was then taken to a higher police authority. The police responded by arresting 26 gang members. However, they were released quickly because tribal elders appealed to the government.

An Encouraging Note

In the following weeks, many Muslims denounced the actions taken against the Christians. To express their disgust, Muslims refused to go to Mosques. In fact, forty-seven key leaders became Christians and renounced Islam stating, “If Islam means killing innocent brothers and sisters – we do not want to follow it!”

Please pray for the Christians in Henno , Ethiopia who are in need of your support in the midst of persecution from Muslim leaders who want to annihilate them. ICC encourages all concerned parties to contact the Ethiopian embassy in the United States , to respectfully express concern that the freedom of Christians in Ethiopia is not being sufficiently protected. You can contact them at the addresses and phone numbers listed below:

Embassy of Ethiopia

3506 International Dr. NW Washington , DC 20008

Tel (202)364-1200

Fax: (202)587-0195

[email protected]

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