Ethiopian Christians send call for help; international body responds

By October 23, 2007

Ethiopia (MNN) — Voice of the Martyrs' Canada reports
that on October 16, a Muslim attack on 25 Christian families in Seka Yoyo–a
town just southwest of Ethiopia's capital–demolished a dozen houses.

The families were forced to flee to the nearby city of Jimma
where several incidents of violence have occurred in recent months, leaving at
least six Christians dead. Approximately 98% of the population is Muslim.

Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says this is
one incident among others that led to the passage of the "Ethiopia Democracy
and Accountability Act of 2007" in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which is now in the Senate for a
vote, is aimed at encouraging and facilitating the consolidation of peace and
security, respect for human rights, democracy, and economic freedom in
Ethiopia.

"The more you have freedom in a country, that's
also going to filter into the area of religious freedom," explains
Nettleton. That also extends
to "freedom for our Christian brothers and sisters there. So in that sense,
it is tied in just as freedoms are tied together, but it doesn't seem to
directly play into the idea of religious freedom."

However, while the bill is aimed at improving
conditions, the former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia Vickie Huddleston is quoted as
suggesting that the bill would aggravate present conditions by "weakening"
the Ethiopian government.

Opponents feel it focuses only on the country's
shortcomings while ignoring the progress the country has made in these
areas. Others protest that such
legislation should be aimed at countries notably less open to religious diversity
and freedoms, like neighboring Eritrea.

Meanwhile, there have been increasing reports of the
clamping down on religious freedom in Ethiopia. Nettleton says that only serves as a backdrop to growth. "One of the exciting things that is
happening is a renewal movement in the Orthodox church, a real return to a
Scriptural understanding of Christianity and what it means to be a
believer. There is also an effective
evangelism going on amongst Muslims in Ethiopia."

Thank the Lord that no Christians were killed or seriously
harmed in the Seka Yoyo attack. Ask God to continue to protect these believers
and others. Pray that they will set Christ apart as Lord and not give in to
fear.

 

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