Ethiopia Presents New Islamic Council

Addis Ababa — The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Council has presented their newly elected executive members. Many Ethiopian Muslims demonstrated against the election process of the Islamic Council for the past 10 months.

The Islamic Affairs Council presented 11 newly elected executive members in Addis Ababa, as the last round of elections ended Sunday. The members then chose Sheikh Kiyar Mohamed Aman as their chairperson. He addressed the rfit in the Ethiopian-Muslim community.

He says the council will do its best to deal with divisions in the Islamic community.

The formation of the Islamic Affairs Council follows months of demonstrations that ended in several clashes with the police and the arrest of more than 100 protesters, including nine prominent Muslim leaders. Those involved in the protests felt the government was trying to fix the council-election outcome and advocate a more liberal Islamic thought, known as Al-Abash.

Mohammed Rashid, technical advisor at the Islamic Affairs Council, says that since the new Islamic Affairs Council has been established, they are looking into ways of uniting the Ethiopian-Muslim community again.

“The newly elected executive members and the newly established Ethiopian Islamic Council institution will have a public representation that will address the question of the Ethiopian Muslims," said Rashid. "And, the next step is to sit down and to analyze the past and the current situation and to define a feasible strategy that will create a peaceful and a stable situation among the Muslim community.”

Muslims involved with leading the demonstrations say they do not want to comment on the outcome of the election at this point. Twenty-nine Ethiopian Muslims were charged last week with plotting acts of terrorism, following their involvement with the demonstrations in July.

Human-rights organization Amnesty International has condemned the government’s response to the demonstrations, saying most of those arrested and charged appear to have been targeted solely because of their participation in a peaceful protest movement.