Letter to President Obama: United Ethiopian Muslims Peaceful Movement

July 20, 2015

July 16, 2015
His Excellency
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you embark to visit Ethiopia, we Ethiopians in the diaspora write to implore your Ex-cellency to raise the concern over the worsening and the on-going egregious human rights violations. We would also like to bring to your attention the on-going repression of Ethiopian Muslims.United Ethiopian Muslims Peaceful Movement Support Group

Your Excellency, in July 2011 the Ethiopian government demanded that most renowned Islamic scholars and leaders of Ethiopian Muslims attend a gathering called by the government in order to declare that Ethiopian Muslims must follow a sect of the government’s choice. The scholars and leaders dutifully attended the conference but not long after the com-mencement most of the attendees walked out in utter disgust at the proposals that were being made.

Since then, Ethiopian Muslims have been displaying their at most displeasure by their continued peaceful resistance against the government’s forceful indoctrination. At the beginning, they elected a 17 member of arbitration committee to negotiate with the gov-ernment to find solutions to the problems and presented 3 reasonable demands based on the Ethiopian Constitution. These demands were:

(1) The government should stop imposing a sect as that contravenes the Constitution’s provisions on religious freedom and secularism;

(2) Muslims should be allowed to freely and fairly elect their religious leaders without the interference of the government; and finally

(3) The Awoliya College and Secondary School in Addis Ababa, the only Islamic institu-tion of higher education in Ethiopia which was shut down by the state mid-semester should be reopened.

After weeks of cordial and intense negotiations, the government abruptly pulled out of the talks and arrested the committee members and threw them in jail and subsequently charged them with trumped up charges using its very broad Anti-Terrorism Law. Ever since, they have been subjected to unspeakable torture and humiliation in the hands of its security agents. Their ordeal has been widely reported by international Human rights organizations including United States Council on International Freedom of Religion.

After a prolonged trial that lacked basic due process, and 1300 days in prison, on July 5, 2015 the government Controlled court passed a guilty verdict against the Ethiopian Muslims Arbitration Committee Members. Their sentencing will take place on August 3, 2015.

Dear Mr. President,

As the respected leader of the free world, we implore you to explicitly inform the Ethiopian government that the US does not tolerate such human rights violations. We implore that you demand of the Ethiopian government that all political prisoners and leaders of the Muslim community be immediately released and those who are responsible for their torture and inhuman treatment be brought to justice.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr.

We wish you success in our ancestral continent and beloved country!

United Ethiopian Muslims Peaceful Movement Support Group