Religion is the new breeding ground for conflict in Ethiopia, a conference in the capital Addis Ababa heard on Wednesday.
Medhane Tadesse, a senior Ethiopian academic, argued that the religious status quo in the country was being “dramatically eroded, incubating violent confrontation.”
His warning came at the end of a three-day conference on federalism, conflict and peace building, hosted by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and the German development agency, GTZ.
“The religious equilibrium is collapsing very quickly,” said Medhane, a consultant on conflicts in the Horn of Africa and author of two books on the Horn.
He stated that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was “weak economically and organisationally” and was easy prey for other religions.
Medhane added that more radical religious elements were now replacing the state, which was struggling to deal with the country’s “social and economic ills”.
“The state has not delivered on these goals, the revolutionary politicians have failed even more dismally, and the hour of the miracle worker – religion - has finally come,” he said.
“This may lead to a very fluid and unsettled domestic political situation,” he said. “The contemporary religious militancy should be seen as a wholly new phenomenon and a threat to the peace, stability and independence of the country.”
Medhane argued that both the Islamic and Evangelical Church were increasingly being backed by foreign interests which were “non-Ethiopian in culture and content”.
He also stated that Ethiopia was already witnessing the beginnings of potential clashes between the Orthodox and Pentecostal churches.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
We uncovered the sex abuse scandal that rocked the WHO, but there’s more to do
We just covered a report that says the World Health Organization failed to prevent and tackle widespread sexual abuse during the Ebola response in Congo.
Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have.
But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking.
We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.
The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this.