Tragic events unfolded in Addis Ababa as police clashed with Muslim protesters near the Grand Anuwar Mosque, resulting in the loss of lives, injuries, and widespread unrest. The protests were triggered by the demolition of mosques in the newly formed Shaggar city, previously known as Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne.
The Muslim community demanded an end to these demolitions, prompting their participation in peaceful demonstrations. However, the situation escalated when the police intervened, leading to casualties and injuries among civilians, police officers, and other security personnel.
The violent clash has drawn condemnation from various organizations, including the Addis Ababa Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, which criticized the police’s actions and called for a resolution through dialogue and corrective measures.
Protests against Mosque Demolitions
The Muslim community in Addis Ababa expressed their dissatisfaction with the ongoing demolitions of mosques in Shaggar city through peaceful protests after Friday prayer. These demonstrations aimed to draw attention to the issue and advocate for an immediate end to the destruction of religious sites. The community’s pleas for preserving their places of worship were met with increased tensions and a subsequent police crackdown.
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Muslim protests: Casualties and Injuries
Tragically, the clash between the police and protesters resulted in the loss of two civilian lives. The identities of the victims, Siraj Mohammed and Abubeker Elias, were revealed, deepening the sense of grief within the community. Moreover, over 40 individuals, including police officers and other security forces, suffered varying degrees of injuries. The extent of their injuries ranged from minor to severe, highlighting the intensity of the confrontation.
Outcry and Demands for Justice
The actions of the police drew strong condemnation from the Addis Ababa Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, which denounced the “unconstitutional and inhumane” response to the protests. The council emphasized the importance of dialogue and corrective measures to address the demolitions in Shaggar city. Prominent Islamic scholars also joined in denouncing the police’s actions and called for justice to be served for the victims. The widespread outcry reflects the urgent need for a peaceful resolution and the preservation of religious freedom.
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Dialogue and Reopening of Mosques
In an attempt to de-escalate the situation, a delegation led by Sheikh Haj Ibrahim Tufa engaged in discussions with security forces. The meeting resulted in an agreement to reopen the Nour Mosque and the Grand Anuwar Mosque, which had been closed by the police following the protests. This gesture aimed to restore a sense of normalcy and demonstrate a commitment to resolving the underlying issues through dialogue and understanding.
The violent clash between the police and Muslim protesters in Addis Ababa has left a community in mourning and numerous individuals injured. The demand for an end to mosque demolitions and the preservation of religious sites remains a critical concern. The condemnation from various organizations and the call for justice highlight the urgency of addressing these issues through peaceful means. It is crucial for all parties involved to engage in constructive dialogue, implement corrective measures, and foster an environment that respects religious freedom and cultural diversity.