Rising violence against Christians in Ethiopia alarms mission group.

By December 4, 2006

Ethiopia (MNN)–A 300-strong Muslim mob murdered six Christians in Ethiopia’s Agaro Province October 14.

It was only two weeks later when two other attacks on Christians occurred in Jimma, Ethiopia because Muslims opposed Orthodox Christians celebrating the traditional Meskel holiday.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Glenn Penner says it’s not an isolated incident. Violence has been spilling over from Somalia’s border.

A neighboring state to Eritrea, Penner was quick to say the persecution issues are dissimilar from country to country.

They’re into a very dangerous situation in western Ethiopia today, as defined by the rise in violence against Christians. “We’re having situations where young Christians are being told ‘you will convert or die.’ These are situations we did not find in Ethiopia, even a year ago. We would see violence, we would see beatings, we would see churches burned down, but we weren’t seeing people getting killed as much.”

Penner says the oppression is getting more severe as evangelicals find themselves pressed between Muslims and the Orthodox church. “This is taking place in very remote parts of Ethiopia. Sometimes it’s taking up to a couple weeks for us to get any sort of reports out. To provide assistance to these Christians is very difficult. ”

Evangelicals are said to make up roughly a fifth of the population, but they rarely enjoy the same legal rights and protection as Orthodox and Muslim Ethiopians, especially in the rural areas.

These are the conditions under which the VCM team work. Penner says prayer is a key component to their ministry because, “It’s very dangerous. Thankfully, we do have staff in the country. They are Ethiopians; they are able to go into the community.”

Continue to pray for their continued Christian outreach in regions where the pressure of Islamic militants is getting more intense. Pray for wisdom and direction for Christian leaders, as they lead their people in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Click here to donate and add your voice to The Voice of the Martyrs ‘Families of Martyrs Fund’.

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