By BosNewsLife Africa Service

Christians comprise a majority in Ethiopia, but radical Islam is gaining ground, rights groups claim

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (BosNewsLife)– Ethiopian police was still searching for key suspects Friday, October 2, after hundreds of angry Muslims reportedly attacked evangelical churches in the western Arsi zone of Ethiopia, injuring at least three Christians.

U.S.-based advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC) told BosNewsLife that some 300 people “ransacked Mulu Wongel Evangelical Church and set fire to church property” in the town of Senbete on September 11, after Christians allegedly desecrated the Koran, seen as holy book by Muslims.

Muslims also attacked the nearby home of a church leader, identified as Evangelist Gizachew, destroying his clothes, chairs, tables, sofa, bicycles, and television, ICC said.

The mob then reportedly marched to Kale Hiwot Evangelical Church where they attacked Christians who were celebrating the Ethiopian New Year. The country follows its own Orthodox calendar that is almost eight years behind that of the West.


“They attacked the Christians with stones and sticks, broke the left arm of Aberash Terefe, and seriously wounded Tefera Bati and Desaleghn Eyasu,” ICC said. “The three were taken to the nearby Kuyera hospital and discharged after treatment. The Muslims pillaged the church’s property and caused 52,000 birr ($4,127) worth of damage.”

Christians said the violence erupted after Muslim leaders called for attacks alleging that Mulatu Eyasu, a second year Bible school student, and Berhanu Abose, a farmer, desecrated the Koran. Christians have denied wrongdoing.

“Mulatu Eyasu and Berhanu Abose are under police custody on false allegations of desecrating the Koran,” ICC added .

Police was apparently still searching Friday, October 2 for suspects Sheik Hussein Mohammed, Imam Ahmed and a third unidentified Muslim leader for instigating what ICC described as “jihad attacks.”

Authorities reportedly detained six other suspects for their alleged involvement in the violence.


ICC said prominent Muslim business owners in the nearby town of Shashamane had “encouraged” the mob “to enforce jihad in order to eliminate Christians from the area.”

Muslims are the majority in the small town of Senbete and ICC said Muslim leaders are “incensed” by several Muslim conversion to Christianity. “Some radicals are threatening to carry out further attacks against Christians.”

Muslims comprise some 34 percent of Ethiopia’s population and Christians make up nearly 63 percent.

However in recent years there has been an increase in “the radicalization of Muslims in Ethiopia” mainly due to the influence of Wahhabi Islam, ICC said.

“Wahhabi Islam, which is sponsored and spread by Saudi Arabia, teaches intolerance and violence against Christians and other non-Wahhabis. Christians living in Muslim majority regions of the country have been victims of violent attacks by Wahhabi and other radical Islamic groups.”


ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East, Jonathan Racho, said his organization has condemned the violence and urged authorities to” seriously investigate the violence and bring all the perpetrators and instigators to justice.”

He said ICC has asked Ethiopian officials to investigate the involvement of three influential business people, identified as Begelo, Lelisso Atota and Bati Wetiye in “masterminding” the violence. “We urge Ethiopian officials to ensure the safety of Christians in Senbete and protect them from further violence.”


  1. Hello! I was wondering if you could give me some information on Stephen Bos, who writes for Worthy Christian News. He wrote the above article, and I was wondering if you could give me background information on him…for example, where he went to college, how long he has been writing, any awards he’s recieved, etc. Thank you!


  2. Dear Nicole,

    Thanks for your reaction. This may help you a little bit. (In case you have more questions, please contact us at any time. Either via the comments or directly via ‘contact us’.) “Award winning Journalist Stefan J. Bos is the founder and Chief Editor of BosNewsLife. He was born on the 19th of September 1967 in a small home in downtown Amsterdam, in the Netherlands not far from the typewriter of his father, who was (and still is) a Reporter and Ghostwriter. Already at a very young age Stefan J. Bos decided to become journalist and finally arrived in Hungary in 1985, the same country where his parents had smuggled Bibles during Communism.

    Stefan J. Bos has traveled extensively to cover wars, terrorist attacks and revolutions throughout the region as well as other countries including Burma, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel, Laos, Lebanon and Thailand for national and international media, such as Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, CBS-News, Belgium VRT Radio and Television, National Public Radio, Market Place Radio, Dutch Business Nieuws Radio, Vatican Radio and others including several news papers and agencies. He received the Annual Press Award of Merit from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his coverage about foreign policy affairs including Hungary’s relationship with NATO and the European Union.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here