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Nejashi Justice Council Press Release

For the past 18 months, tens of thousands of Muslims have participated in regular peaceful protests, opposing blatant government interference in Islamic affairs and in elections for the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, and government attempts to impose the teachings of violent, pro-Syrian, Lebanese based Al Ahbash sect on the Muslim community. Ethiopian government’s response to the peaceful protests was violent crackdowns – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL and Human Rights Watch issued press release detailing instances of the violence: “Ethiopia: Widespread violations feared in clampdown on Muslim protests.”, “Ethiopia: Prominent Muslims Detained in Crackdown – Security Forces Arrest Hundreds of Peaceful Protesters; Detainees at Risk”, respectively.

Failing to provoke Ethiopian Muslims into violence, the government resorted to attempting to provoke violence among Muslims and Christians – It hasn’t worked. Ethiopian Muslims and Christians, and secular human rights defenders have joined in rejecting regime’s irresponsible incitement. The underlying truth about the peaceful movement is, as testified by Helen Epstein “It has no hint of terrorist influence, and its leaders are calling for a secular government under the slogan “We have a cause worth dying for, but not worth killing for.” Indeed, the Ethiopian protesters may be leading Africa’s most promising and important nonviolent human rights campaign since the anti-apartheid struggle.”

Ethiopia’s Constitution prohibits state involvement in religious affairs, including a provision on the right to peacefully protest, which is routinely flouted by the authorities. To circumvent the constitution, the Ethiopian government introduced anti-terror law which has been used to target dissent, rather than to stop terrorism. On July 22, 2013, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued a press release on “We are deeply concerned that Ethiopia’s government is seeking to silence peaceful religious freedom proponents by detaining and trying them in secret under trumped-up terrorism charges. They should be released now and their trials halted,” said USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett.

It is in this context of the Ethiopian regime’s blatant attempts to Manufacturing Terrorists and Terrorism that Ethiopians of all faith were alarmed when the Ethiopian foreign ministry recently issued a terror alert; advising Embassy’s of an imminent terror attacks involving Ethiopian Muslims. Given the Ethiopian regime’s violent history, the recent terror alert is a strong indicator that the Ethiopian government is looking for a pretext for a violent crackdown. We call upon the International Community to urge the government of Ethiopia to refrain from committing irresponsible actions against its own citizens for the purpose of political goals.

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