Shimelis also says accusations that the government is trying to interfere in religious affairs are fabrications started by extremist groups.
”These extremist groups in Ethiopia are exploiting the situation in order to advance their hidden agendas,” the spokesman said. “They started all kinds of accusations, stating that the government is using its institutions to coerce and to systemically wipe out Islamic religion from Ethiopia. And even stated that all the developmental activities are targeted at diminishing the Muslims in Ethiopia. This was a wild accusation.”
Some Ethiopian Muslims mentioned that they feel pressured to vote on Sunday as people from local government are going door to door. For the first time, Muslims will have to vote in their districts instead of in the mosques. Representatives of the districts are allegedly telling Muslims that not voting will have consequences.
Shimelis says that these accusations are false as well and that it’s the extremist groups that are threatening the Muslim community, as they want more power.
”Controlling such an institution would help legitimize, theological legitimize, its activities,” he said.
Members of the Islamic Council committee preferred not to comment on the matter.
Ethiopia has often been praised for being a peaceful multi-religious nation. According to government statistics, the majority of Ethiopians are Christian, while about one-third of the population is Muslim.