Destroyed: Ethiopian Christian church (Compass Direct photo)
More than 50 churches, nearly 30 houses, a school and an orphanage along with other Christian-owned buildings have been destroyed by rampaging Muslims in Ethiopia’s Jamma region, according to reports from the Christian news service Compass Direct and others.
International Christian Concern’s Jonathan Racho has been in contact with a pastor in Ethiopia who confirms that more than 50 churches have been burned – along with a school, an orphanage and an office.
Racho said the wave of arson was touched off by Muslims framing Christians for desecrating a Quran.
“The Muslims desecrated a Quran and put it in a church compound and then accused Christians of desecrating a Quran, then started attacking,” Racho said. “Since this happened, since it happened in a part of Ethiopia where Muslims have the majority, the police failed to protect the Christians.
“So the Muslim mobs were able to carry out attacks in many cities,” he said.
“This is unprecedented in Ethiopia because Ethiopia is considered to be a Christian majority country. There have been attacks against Christians in the past but it’s unprecedented because of the number of churches,” Racho explained.
Atlas Shrugs publisher Pamela Geller says the mainstream press has ignored the church burnings.
Racho indicated that while there is no cause-and-effect relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia, the philosophical basis is the same.
“There is no evidence to link what happened in Ethiopia to the sometimes democratic voices that we are hearing in some Arab countries,” Racho declared. “There is no evidence whatsoever to link the two movements.”
However, Racho said that there is a similarity in the motivation.
“The church leaders were able to tell us that there is a very radical Islamic movement called Kwarej. … This group believes that Muslims should only live in an Islamic state and only obey laws which are made by Islamic states,” Racho stated.
“They consider Ethiopia an illegitimate country so they have no regard for Ethiopia at all. This is the group believed to be behind the attacks on the churches,” he added.
Racho said that Kwarej’s philosophy matches the Islam proclaimed in Muhammad’s Medina period.
WND reported on an article by American-born Imam Anwar al-Awlaki that Center for the Study of Political Islam founder Bill Warner describes this level of Islamic practice as “mature Islam.”
“This is in line with where radical Muslims call for an Islamic state where Shariah is the law of the land. And it’s where Christians and Jews are considered second class citizens and tiny other religions are exterminated and believers of the other religions will be killed,” Racho said.
Rubble of Christian church destroyed in Ethiopia (Compass Direct photo)
“This is a movement to re-establish an Islamic state that was in existence in the past,” he said.
Racho explained that the Kwarej movement in Ethiopia is very much in agreement with the philosophy and goals of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“There is no doubt. One of the motives of the Muslim Brotherhood is the Shariah law, so, yes, there is no doubt,” Racho said.
Various reports indicate that the Kwarej take their name from an Islamic movement that broke away from Muhammad’s successor, Ali ibn Ali Talib. The Kwarej were also called the Hukmiyya because they denied the authority and leadership of two of Muhammad’s arbitrators, Abu Musa al-Ashari and Amr ibn al-As. The Kwarej were also known for a defiant battle cry, “The decision belongs to Allah alone; the two arbitrators have no power to decide!”
Racho explained that the local governments have failed to act to stop the violence. He says Ethiopian federal authorities have stepped in and dismissed a local official who failed to intervene and stop the attacks.
The recent attacks have not only taken a toll on churches, but reports indicate that the wave of church and house burnings has left more than 3,000 people homeless.
Most of the newly created refugees in Ethiopia are seeking shelter in other villages and towns in the Christian parts of the country.