Ethiopia May Not Be the Safe Haven for Christians It Has Been

Front-line workers in Ethiopia baptize former Muslims. (Photo, caption courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Ethiopia — compared to its neighbors like Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan — is the tamest of the bunch when it comes to religious violence. But Greg Musselman with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada says that is changing.

“I have a close friend that is giving us information. Since he left many years ago and has gone back, he just said there is an increase of [Christian] persecution that’s happening,” Musselman says.

“When you look back at Ethiopia, for many, many years, the Muslim communities, the Orthodox [and] Evangelical communities have lived at peace with each other. But again, there are always those people within certain groups that are wanting to cause violence and it destabilizes the situation.”

Ethiopia hasn’t always been on VOM Canada’s Christian persecution radar. However, when Musselman took his first trip with the ministry 20 years ago, they were routed through Ethiopia and spent a few days there.

“While we were there, we met with evangelical Christians who had come from Orthodox backgrounds that were really struggling and undergoing persecution. So that was kind of an alert to us. We were not aware of that at the time.”

Since then, VOM Canada has increased involvement with believers in Ethiopia. They see a variety of sources that persecution comes from — tribal violence, government restriction, radical Islam, and even oppression from the majority Orthodox Church on Evangelical minorities.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh