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Muslim Men Attack Somali Church Leader in Ethiopia
Somali Christians Living in Ethiopia Coming Under Increased Attacks

Washington, D.C. (August 23, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on August 21, two Somali Muslim men attacked a well-known Somali church leader in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

Mohamed Ali Garas, a convert from Islam, was returning home at 9 PM when two Somali Muslim men called his name. Garas went to meet them and one of the men struck him on the head with a wooden club. Garas fell on the ground and continued to be hit. The other Muslim man joined in, kicking Garas in the chest and stomach. The Muslim men fled after an Ethiopian neighbor came to the scene.  

Garas is currently being treated at Meghbar Senai Hospital in the Shola neighborhood of Addis Ababa. Garas’ kneecap seems to be damaged and he will undergo more exams and x-rays to find out the extent.

The local police are currently investigating the attack.

Speaking to ICC from his hospital bed, Garas said that the attackers purposefully hit him on his right leg. They apparently knew him because Garas had broken his right thigh bone seven years ago in an accident. His broken bone has been healing for the last three years since he had reconstructive surgery.

Garas fled to Ethiopia from Somaliland in August 2005 after authorities there attempted to arrest him. He was then the most visible church leader in Somaliland. He moved to a new neighborhood in Addis Ababa 22 days ago because Somali Muslim men had threatened to physically attack him in his old neighborhood. Speaking to ICC, a Somali pastor in the Ethiopian capital described this latest attack as “an apparent attempt to scar the Somali Christian community in Addis Ababa who consider Ethiopia a safe haven from religious persecution.”

Alarmingly, Somalia Christians living in Ethiopia, including those living the capital city, are coming under increased attack from Somali Muslims. On July 16, five Somali Muslims beat a Somali Christian convert in Addis Ababa. Also, on September 20, 2008 Muslims beat a 35-year-old Somali Christian leader.

Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said “We are concerned by the attacks that Somali Christians face in Ethiopia. The Somali Christians fled to Ethiopia seeking protection. We urge the officials of Ethiopia to protect Somali Christians against the attacks by Somali Muslims.”