Africa, News Watch, Side Feature

Who Will Stop the Killing of Muslims and Demolishment of Mosques in Ethiopia

On 2nd June, following Jummah prayers, 3 Muslims were killed by Ethiopian security forces outside the Grand Mosque, Anwar Masjid in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia during a peaceful protest against the authority’s demolishment of several mosques in the outskirts of the city and plans to destroy more. The police used tear gas and opened fire at worshippers to disperse the crowd gathered outside the mosque. The previous week, 2 Muslims were killed and dozens injured by security forces at the same location during another protest, while 114 Muslims were also reportedly arrested. Some reported that ambulances were unable to reach the injured due to forces laying siege to the mosque.

In recent months, at least 19 mosques have been demolished by the authorities in Ethiopia as part of a contentious urban planning project that involves the fusion of several municipalities in the Oromia region on the outskirts of the capital and the building of a new Shaggar city which the government argues will improve the economy and beautify Addis Ababa as an urban tourism site. The government decision to demolish more than 30 mosques in the newly established Shaggar City has understandably provoked huge anger amongst Muslims in the country who have arranged various protests against the move. The Federal Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Ethiopia sent a letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seeking an end to the demolishment but it fell on deaf ears. The project also involves the destruction of homes and businesses, which will reportedly leave thousands homeless.

In April 2022, more than 20 Muslims were killed and more than 150 wounded in an attack in Sheikh Elias Cemetery in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar during a funeral of a Muslim elder. The incident also saw the looting of Muslim properties. The perpetrators were extremist Christians. In 2019, multiple mosques were attacked in the town of Mota in Amhara in a wave of anti-Muslim violence.

Ethiopia or Abyssinia as it was once known was once a sanctuary for Muslims seeking protection from persecution at the time of the Prophet (saw); it houses one of the oldest mosques in Africa – Al Nejashi Mosque; it has a rich history of Islam that spans centuries; and has a population of over 25 million Muslims – over one third of the population. Yet today, Muslims are killed and Islamic religious sites are destroyed in this land with no government, no leadership, no ruler who has the political will to stop the injustice, even though the Prophet (saw) said

«قَتْلُ الْمُؤْمِنِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ زَوَالِ الدُّنْيَا»

“Killing a believer is more grievous before Allah than the extinction of the whole world.”

We expect nothing from Western governments and the UN except empty words of condemnation. We expect nothing from the current regimes and rulers of the Muslim world who have proven time and again that they bear no genuine care for the sanctity of Muslim blood or Islam.

Today, the rights of Muslims in Ethiopia is being trampled over as they are in India, Myanmar, France and in other lands across the world with no sincere Islamic leadership to protect them. This was not always the case. When Muslims in Spain, Palestine, India and elsewhere were being persecuted in the past, the Khilafah (Caliphate) stepped in to protect their blood and liberate them from their oppressors. It is this state alone that has the political will and power to protect Muslims, no matter where they live, from harm and persecution, for the Prophet (saw) said:

«وإنَّما الإمَامُ جُنَّةٌ يُقَاتَلُ مِن ورَائِهِ ويُتَّقَى به»

“Only the Imam is a shield, behind whom you fight and you protect yourself with.”

However, since the destruction of the Khilafah on the 3rd March 1924, Muslims have globally been like orphans, abandoned, with no guardian or protector.

Upon the re-establishment of the Khilafah based upon the method of the Prophethood, the state will seek to unify the Muslim lands, their resources, wealth and military to build a superpower which will strike fear into the hearts of those who dare to harm Muslims, or attack their Deen or religious sites. It will wield immense political, economic, strategic and military power and leverage and demonstrate in actions rather than empty words its role as guardian and shield of the Muslims and Islam. So we call our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and across the world to work with Hizb ut Tahrir to establish with urgency the Khilafah which will herald a new dawn of security and protection for this Ummah.

Dr. Nazreen Nawwaz
Director of the Women’s Section in the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir