LEBMA Statement on the Massacre of Ethiopians in Libya

In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate

April 20, 2015
for Immediate Release
LEBMA vzw has just learnt with great sorrow the massacre of about thirty Ethiopians in Libya. According to several news outlets the massacre is claimed by a group called ISIS/ISIL. LEBMA vzw, organization of Ethiopian Muslims in Belgium and Belgian Muslims of Ethiopian origin, and its members condemn with the strongest possible terms this barbaric act. The act is an anti-thesis of the basic principles and teaching of Islam. It is also against humanity that Islam holds as sacred. Islam, a religion of over one and half billion people, gives human life the highest regard. Actually the Quran is explicit in equating the killing of an innocent person with the killing of the whole humanity and saving the life of an innocent person as equal to the saving of the whole humanity (Q005:032). Similarly the statement reportedly issued accompanied by the video of the massacre in an attempt to justify the group’s terrible act, holds no ground whatsoever from the perspective of any moral, religious or even political considerations.
In the history of Islam and the relation of Islam and Christianity, Ethiopia shines high and it opens the very first chapter of any Islamic history book. The cordial relationship that existed between Prophet Muhammed (saw), the best of mankind, and Nejashi, the just Ethiopian Christian King, is ever existing and stands forever as a prime example of how difference in religion would not prompt one to declare the other as hostile or enemy. In spite of the presence of some problems in the relations between the political system and different religious communities in different times in the history of the country, Ethiopian Muslims and Christians have lived together with affection, understanding and mutual respect. This unique bond of Ethiopians that triumphed over historic attempts to declare one religion as enemy to the other, would withstand the recent attempt of ISIS/ISIL and its likes to divide us on the basis of our belief. We stand united as one body and refute all assertions that lead some to believe that Ethiopian Christians are the enemies of their Muslim brothers and vice versa.
On a similar note, LEBMA vzw condemns the xenophobic attack in South Africa on African immigrants. In a manner that belittles the role Ethiopia and Ethiopians played in the South African’s libration from the apartheid regime, we are particularly sadden by the fact that Ethiopians were targeted and a number of them were burnt alive. Our sympathy goes with the victims of these atrocities, their families and the bigger Ethiopian people.
While issuing this statement to condemn and highlight the situation of Ethiopians in different partS of the world, LEBMA vzw would like to call upon all Ethiopians to reflect on the reason why such a huge number of Ethiopians decide to put themselves at risk by crossing borders and travelling to unstable part of the world. Before they could even arrive a certain destination, several of them perish on the way. They leave their home and family behind and choose to go for the risky and for the unknown. This, to our belief, is because of the absence of alternatives as the social, economical and political environment in the country would not allow them to work and live in freedom. Ethiopia today is a country with gross human and civil right abuses. Citizens are put behind bars and made to endure torture for no reason other than claiming their legal and constitutional rights. Thousands of community leaders, religious scholars, civil liberty activists, journalists and political party leaders are currently charged under the illegal and unconstitutional anti-terrorism law and languishing in Ethiopian prisons. As the basis of our agony lies behind the injustices and right abuses (manifesting itself as economic, social or political) in Ethiopia, its remedy lies in it as well. In fact, for all the sufferings of Ethiopians both at home and overseas, the ruling EPRDF and its policies should take the responsibility.
Our suffering would not possibly end with what we witnessed in Libya, in South Africa and in the Middle East unless we address the gross human right abuses and lack of freedom in Ethiopia. In this respect we call upon the government of Ethiopia, civil society organizations and the ordinary citizens to act decisively and in brevity to turn the tide of our sufferings and the dangerous path the country is being pushed to.
United we stand – divided we fail!
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April 20, 2015

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