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Ethiopia : Govt Respects,But Local Officials Disregard Rights–U.S. report

ICC Note

Foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with Salafi/Wahhabi Islam backgrounds are sources of religious strife in Ethiopia .

09/25/2007 Ethiopia (Jimma Times)-According to the latest U.S. Department of State report on freedom of religion, the Ethiopia government “generally respected” these rights “in practice” and the government “continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion.”

While the report praised the government, it continued to criticize local officials and private citizens who “infringed” in this right as well as local administrators who were “implicated in several religious clashes.” Accordingly, protestant groups in Orthodox & Islam dominated areas as well as Muslim groups in Orthodox dominated areas “continued to complain that local officials discriminated against them.” Also, various cases of favoritism in granting lands for churches, mosques and cemeteries were cited.

The report also acknowledged that traditional Ethiopian Muslims faced problems from “foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)” with Salafi/Wahhabi Islam backgrounds.

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A few incidents of religious clashes were noted with evangelicals being targets. After clashes, the report noted that the government tried to solve the issues by replacing or transferring “many local government leaders in the areas where the violence occurred, due to reports that some leaders had failed to prevent an escalation in local religious tensions.” As a result, the report noted tensions subsiding in previous problem areas.

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