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Washington, D.C. (March 9, 2011) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Ethiopian government has sent military forces to put down the anti-Christian violence perpetrated by Muslims in Asendabo and the surrounding areas. Government officials have arrested several Muslims suspected of attacking Christians in the area.

When the attacks began on March 2, Muslims killed one Christian, wounded several others, burned down 55 churches, 30 Christian homes, a Bible school, a Christian orphanage, and a church office. More than 3,000 Christians are now displaced because of the violence.

The violence started after Muslims falsely accused Christians of desecrating the Qur’an. The local police and government officials did nothing to stop the attackers. Federal government officials have now stepped in and removed the local Muslim administrator for his failure to protect Christians.

A Christian leader told ICC that the attacks were organized by members of Kwarej, a radical Islamic group that fights to establish an Islamic state in Ethiopia. The Muslim attackers came from different parts of Ethiopia, including the Somali region.

“It’s very sad that a radical Muslim group destabilizes the unity of Ethiopian Christians and Muslims. We are devastated by the attacks and we urge all concerned people to help us. We call upon Ethiopian officials to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future,” the church leader added.

Asendabo is a town located in Jimma Zone, Western Ethiopia. Western Ethiopia was the scene of violent attacks against Christians in 2006 when Muslims killed more than a dozen Christians and burned down several churches. Thousands of Christians have been forced to leave their homes as a result of these attacks.

“Islamic radicals are fighting to establish an Islamic state in Christian majority Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the Christians have borne the brunt of the Islamic attacks. Christians will continue to be killed unless the government of Ethiopia starts taking serious measures to stop Islamists from carrying out similar attacks. We urge all the concerned to put pressure on Ethiopia to protect its citizens,” said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa.

Please contact your congressional representatives at house.gov and ask them to put pressure on Ethiopia to protect the Christians from further attacks by Muslims.

Ethiopian Embassies: USA (202) 364-1200, Canada 416 482 6637, Germany 493077206, UK 020 78383897/020 7838 3898