By Nasrudin Osman
~~~ “We have No Reason to Kill; but a Cause to Die for.” Ahmedin Jebel ~~~
The Ethiopian government’s intelligence services have resorted to the most cruel and bizarre tactic in a desperate bid to incriminate Muslims in Dessie town who have been holding more than a year of peaceful protests, part of a nationwide protests against government interference in religious affairs.
According to reports, Sheikh Nuru has become the first victim of the government’s desperate and devilish attempt to demonize the consistently peaceful movement of the country’s Muslims demanding the full respect of constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom and government non-interference in religious affairs.
Muslims across Ethiopia have been peacefully protesting against the government’s bold attempt to impose a Lebanese-born sect called al-Ahbash for nearly two years now.
Sheikh Nuru, reportedly a follower of the al-Ahbash sect, has been defending the government’s infamous policy of imposing the new sect. He was often presented on the national TV speaking against the legitimate demands of the country’s Muslims and denouncing the ongoing peaceful protests.
It is a solid fact that Sheikh Nuru played a notorious role in the series of brutal attacks by security forces against Muslims of the Dessie town on many occasions. However, neither he nor any other advocate of the government-sponsored al-Ahbash sect have ever been targeted by the peaceful protestors at any time. Ethiopian Muslims have repeatedly underlined that violence is not and will never be their means to ensure the respect of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and rights.
People suspect that Sheikh Nuru’s stand, which went against the majority of the Muslim community, may have been used to create the “impression” that he could be attacked by people whom he often opposes. It was amidst this scenario that the news of the killing of Sheikh Nuru came out, and the state media was quick to accuse unnamed “extremists” for his death.
People in Dessie town accuse the government for the killing. According to residents of the town the Sheikh may have been assassinated by mercenaries deployed by the government. The sheikh was reportedly shot with three bullets on the head, chest and neck despite the unusual darkness at his neighborhood. Several circumstantial evidences have been emerging to prove that Sheikh Nuru was shot by a skilled sniper and the incident was very-well orchestrated.
People are wondering why the body of Sheikh Nuru was buried the next morning without undergoing proper forensic investigation. They also question the hasty stereotypical allegation of the government purporting “Sheikh Nuru was killed by extremists.”
During the last one year, government security forces killed about four Muslims in Asasa town, Arsi Zone of Oromia Region, another four in Gerba town, Oromia Zone of Amhara Region, two Muslims in Degan town, Oromia Zone of Amhara Region, and a Christian child in Harer city, Harari Regional State. In all but the last one, the victims of these brutal and unlawful killings were described by the infamous state TV as “extremists.”
Despite these unlawful killings and the detention of several hundreds of Muslims across the country, Ethiopian Muslims kept on their mosque-based peaceful protests against the continued government interference in their religious affairs.
Ethiopian Muslims have held several hundreds of peaceful protests across the country over the last one year. They have publicly vowed never to resort to any kind of violence. The movement of Ethiopian Muslims has been aptly articulated by Ustaz Ahmedin Jebel, one of the leaders of the peaceful movement, who is being incarcerated at different government detention facilities for exactly a year now: “We have no reason to kill; but we have a cause to die for.”
By Nasrudin Osman