WHO IS THE LEADER OF ETHIOPIA?
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is the leader of Ethiopia.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN ETHIOPIA?
64 million Christians live in Ethiopia. They make up almost 60 per cent of the total population of 107.5 million. Most of the rest of the population are Muslims.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN ETHIOPIA?
Christians in Ethiopia face persecution from radical Islam, the government – and sadly, even each other.
Islamic extremism has spilled over into parts of Ethiopia from Somalia, and in rural areas where Christians are a minority, they may be denied access to communal resources, or even violently attacked.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church considers itself the only ‘true’ denomination, and those who move to other denominations have been socially excluded or beaten.
Under new leadership, the Ethiopian government seems to be reforming, but still puts restrictions on religious activities.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN ETHIOPIA?
All Christians face certain levels of restriction from the government. For example, setting up religious broadcasting services and teaching about religion in schools has been banned.
The persecution faced by Christians in Ethiopia often depends on where they live. For example, in urban areas and areas that are mainly Protestant, Christians who leave the Ethiopian Orthodox Church will face less serious consequences, although they may still face opposition from their families.
But in rural communities that are mainly made up of members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Christians who choose to be part of another denomination may be ostracised or attacked.
In rural communities that are mainly Muslim, Christians may be denied access to communal resources or attacked by extremists. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families and communities.
As Ethiopia is a communal society, being rejected by your community has serious consequences. An Open Doors researcher says, "There are a number of challenges faced by Evangelicals and Pentecostals in areas where the majority is Orthodox. They are not allowed to participate in social events and associations; they have trouble finding schools where their children would be safe; there may be obstructions to daily life such as going to the market. In extreme cases, they may be forced to leave the area."
Wasihun, pictured above, lives in a village where his family are the only Christians - the rest are Animists. When he was young, Wasihun's family constantly faced insults and threats for refusing to return to their traditional faith. Eventually, Wasihun's father, Matuma, was killed in front of his family for not taking part in traditional rituals. Wasihun was just seven.
Your support and prayers have enabled Open Doors partners to support Wasihun and his family, providing school fees for Wasihun and his siblings, helping his mother to start a small business, and providing them with trauma care.
"I was totally shocked when my Dad was killed in front of me, but God comforted us and told us that He will be the Father of each of us."
– Wasihun, who was seven when his father was killed for his faith in Jesus
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN ETHIOPIA?
You can give to provide vital support
Open Doors works through local partners and churches to equip Christians in Ethiopia with training, relief aid and livelihood support.
£51 could provide training to three persecuted Christians in Africa to help them generate their own income and restore their dignity.
You can tell others
The story of Wasihun from Ethiopia, who was seven when his father was killed for his faith in Jesus, is included in our free Can you believe it? pack. Order yours and inspire your church or small group with stories of faith, hope and love.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR ETHIOPIA
Lord Jesus, unite our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia as one body. Help them to stand firm against the persecution they face. May You provide for believers who are denied access to communal resources, or who face exile from their communities.