It seems there has been a great deal of door-to-door persecution from militant Muslims against Christians. At least 500 Christians have been martyred since the beginning of June. Literally thousands of Christians – both Orthodox and Evangelical – have had to flee for their lives from many major Ethiopian areas, including from the capital city of Addis Ababa.
The immense persecution was led by an ethnic group called Qeerroo (which, incidentally, literally means “the bachelors” in the native language). They are mostly concentrated around the Oromia regional state and also the areas east, south, and southeast of Addis Ababa. The persecution has become even more intense after the assassination of the popular Oromo singer Hachallu Hundessa last June.
The Barnabas Fund is an international Christian agency, and they reported on these events. They are devoted to stopping Christian persecution throughout the world. “Many of these Qeerroo militants had lists of known Christians, and they were actually assisted by the local authorities. Of course, this was spearheaded by Muslims in the Oromia region. In summary, they wanted to find individuals that were active in supporting the local Church.”
There was an Oromo Christian who refused to take off the thread that he was wearing around his neck. After his refusal, he was beheaded by these angry, extremist monsters. In Ethiopia, this thread is an important sign that shows they have been baptized in a church. It wasn’t good enough for these attackers. They simply and pathologically told his wife that the only way he could be a member of the Oromo community was if he laid prostrate before Allah.
“These Qeerroo extremists arrived in cars and trucks, and they were armed with swords, machetes, spears, and guns. They forced the children to watch while they practiced their cruelty on their parents and brutally murdered them with the spears and the machetes,” a spokesperon from the agency added.
Of course, to their credit, there were some Muslims who actually risked their lives to save some Christians, but the sad truth is that those that SHOULD have been trying to intervene in this tragedy did not do so. Now, I respect Blue Lives just as much as the other person, but the Ethiopian police dropped the ball simply because they only stood by and watched but ultimately did nothing.
People not only vandalized Christian-owned businesses and homes, but there was dancing and singing in the town of Dera once they saw the dead bodies of some of these Christians. Indeed, there was a witness in Gedeb Asasa that saw the hacked body of an elderly Christian couple who were being dragged through the streets!
“Many still live in fear. We have seen many pastors and priests physically weeping in tears after they learned of the horrors that their fellow brethren went through,” one contact told the Barnabas Fund. The Ethiopian government tried to do their part by temporarily suspending the internet because they knew it would incite hatred.
For many years, Ethiopia has been known as a Christian country, with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church being the main denomination and an organization that is totally intertwined with Ethiopian identity. Unfortunately, this Orthodox church and many protestant believers alike are targeted for their faith. To make matters worse, if you try to move away from this some fellow Christians will stigmatize you for being a pariah.
Many Christians continue to be targeted for their faith, including the Mekane Yesus Evangelical Church, which was ordered to leave their property within the town of Robe simply because the neighbors were complaining of noise.
The trouble that Ethiopian Christians are having certainly speaks to the continued problem that persecuted Christians are having all over the world. We as American and British Christians are definitely lucky to live in an area where we have freedom of religion, but we should make sure that we continue to pray for these Christians who are in less fortunate areas.