50 kirker og mange kristne hjem er brent i den vestlige del av Etiopia. En muslimsk mobb står bak. Hæren ser ikke ut til å ha handlingskraft.
Etiopia har statistisk en overvekt av kristne, men i en del områder er muslimer i stort flertall.
Det ble meldt om uro i februar. Utløsende skal ha vært et rykte om blasfemi. En kristen, Tamirat Woldegorgis, skal ha skrevet Jesus er herre, i en Koran. De kristne bestrider at han skrev i en Koran, det ville være galskap. Han skrev på et tøystykke. Men ryktet var ikke til å stoppe.
I november ble han stilt for retten i byen Moyale, og dømt til tre års fengsel.
Myndighetene tilbød å løslate ham, mot at han konverterte til islam. Han nektet.
Men det var bare begynnelsen. Snart fikk de kristne i området beskjed om at de enten måtte konvertere eller dra.
The string of attacks comes on the heels of several reports of growing anti-Christian tension and violence around the country where Muslims make up roughly one-third of the total population but more than 90 percent of the population in certain areas, 2007 Census data shows.
One of those areas is Besheno where, on November 9, all the Christians in the city woke up to find notes on their doors warning them to convert to Islam, leave the city or face death, a Christian from Besheno told FoxNews.com on condition of anonymity.
“Under the Ethiopian constitution we are supposed to have freedom of religion, but Muslim leaders in our town don’t allow us that right,” the source said.
Later that month three Christians in Besheno were assaulted in religiously-motivated attacks and three others were forced to flee the city after being told that Muslim leaders had commissioned hit men to kill them, one of the exiled Christians told FoxNews.com.
“We were told by some Muslims that live in the city that there was already a plan to kill us and that the people who were assigned to kill us had already come from another city to do it.”
A witness to the three attacks was then assaulted in January after testifying about them in court, International Christian Concern (ICC), an organization that aims to fight Christian persecution, reported.
Så begynte pogromene som har vakt oppmerksomhet utenfor Etiopias grenser.
And in Oma Village on February 26 a Muslim mob with rocks and rods assaulted and wounded 17 Christian college students who were distributing Bibles during a mission trip, ICC reported.
The mob overwhelmed government security forces that attempted to protect the students, but the students eventually fled, the ICC website said.
«The violence against Christians in Ethiopia is alarming because Ethiopian Muslims and Christians used to live together peacefully. Besides, it’s extremely disconcerting that in Ethiopia, where Christians are the majority, they are also the victims of persecution,» Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager of Africa and South Asia, told FoxNews.com.
Statsminister Meles Zenewi mener en fanatisk gruppe som kaller seg Karawja står bak.
«We believe there are elements of the Kawarja sect and other extremists who have been preaching religious intolerance in the area,” he said at a Saturday press conference. “In previous times, we have cracked down on Kawarja because they were involved in violence. Since then they have changed their tactics and they have been able to camouflage their activities through legal channels.»