Ethiopia Muslim Militants Kill Evangelist; More Violence Feared

Thursday, March 29, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (BosNewsLife) -- An Ethiopian evangelist was beaten to death by militant Muslims as he and two young women were evangelizing in the Ethiopian city of of Jimma, and there were fears the incident could spark widespread violence against Christian believers, Christian rights investigators said Thursday, March 29.

The influential US-based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) with website, said the evangelist, identified as Tedase, was killed Monday, March 26 after being attacked by "extremists."

It said the troubles began when Tedase and two female coworkers "were conducting street evangelism on Merkato Street" near a 'Wahabbi' Mosque in Jimma.

"As the team was walking by the Mosque, a group of Muslims left the Mosque and began to run after them to confront them. Tedase's female coworkers ran away from the mob" but Muslims managed to caught up with Tedase, the ICC said. They alleged pulled him into the mosque, "and savagely beat him to death."


The ICC quoted unidentified sources from Jimma as saying that Tedase "was beaten with a calculated intention to kill him." The group said this "was no accident or case of mob frenzy getting out of control."

His body was reportedly taken to the hospital for a brief autopsy and he was buried Tuesday, March 27. The ICC said the attack happened at a time when Jimma Christians were conducting an "evangelism campaign." News of "the outreach" soon spread among Jimma residents, upsetting militant Muslim groups in the area. "The Muslims that belonged to the Wahabbi sect purposefully beat Tedase to death as a message to Christians that they are ready to combat evangelism."

The ICC said the most recent incident in Ethiopia confirmed ICC's decision to include Ethiopia in its annual Hall of Shame list, which highlights nations where Christians are allegedly enduring "the most severe" persecution.


"It is important to note that the Muslims who attacked Tedase belonged to the Wahabbi brand of Islam, an extremist sect imported from Saudi Arabia. It is clear that the Christians in Ethiopia are feeling Saudi Arabia's influence, particularly in Jimma, a Muslim dominated area where local authorities are almost exclusively Muslim, the ICC said.

The attack came six months after Muslim militants reportedly burned down a number of churches and parishes, as well as Christian homes. Up to 2,000 Christians were displaced by the attack as part of what the ICC described as "an attempt to intimidate Christians with the hopes of converting them to Islam."

Evangelical church leaders in the region are reportedly fearful that if police ignore Tedase's death, "it will be a green light for Muslim groups in the area to attack their Christian neighbors at will and without retribution," said the ICC.

The organization said it has appealed to its supporters to contact Ethiopian embassies in their own countries, demanding an investigation into Tedase's murder. (With reports from Washington and Ethiopia).

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