It is really a great honor for me to be one of your readers. Every month I buy your magazine either from a shop or I get it from a friend who is your admirer. But the recent issue of your magazine about Islam in Ethiopia (What went wrong with Islam in Ethiopia June 20 12) is somewhat interesting.
The columnist Salehedin Eshetu Getahun has made a fair analysis about the problems of Islam in Ethiopia. But at the end he made unfair conclusion by using the opinion of a so-called Mohammed wherein he asserted that no significant ministerial position has been held by a Muslim in Ethiopia. I, as a citizen of Algeria residing in your nice country, was surprised to read such a misleading conclusion. Has the good writer forgotten or deliberately overlooked that there are key posts in the cabinet of PM Meles Zenawi held by Muslims? What about Mr. Sufian Mohammed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development? What about Mr. Jundedin Sado, the Minister of Civil Service and what about Mr. Redwan Hassen , Senior Adviser with the rank of a minister in the office of PM Zenawi? What else do we need? Is it not a great thing to have these people in the government in a country where, according to the past history, Muslims were never considered as citizens in equal status with Christians? I think your editorial team should examine
articles before they appear in public.
I came across with your magazine I’ve never heard about before on my way out of a supermarket. I read the captivating cover story (What went wrong with Islam in Ethiopia?, June 2012) and decided to let you know that I found it to be well written and very informative. I had no clue about what was going on and I even tried to Google the issue once or twice but every time I tried to read, I was either more confused or lost. I just wanted you to know that I liked the way it was written and the issues it tried to cover. It truly helped me understand the problem. So keep up the good work.
The article has attempted to give a general insight into the recent Ethiopian Muslim movement. For someone who is unaware of what is going on, the article could give you a general outlook. I understand that writing about these kinds of issues is no walk in the park. In fact it is as if walking on a street filled with thorns. The conclusion was informative. But would have been more enticing if readers were made to see how Ethiopian Muslims came to this stage of socio-political consciousness. Historically, Ethiopian Muslims have been troubled with the question of identity rather than the problem of sects. Thus, my comments starts from the title “What went wrong with Islam in Ethiopia?”. The article and the title have a clear mismatch. For an outsider the title misleads in such a way that readers would expect from the article some religious scholarly view to Islam in Ethiopia not the status of Muslims in Ethiopia. Basically, there is nothing new to Islam in Ethiopia that makes it unique from other Islamic countries. But something is definitely going on around the Muslim community. They have undergone social, political and economic changes. The question is not about promoting Al-Ahbash or Wahabism, it is about being accepted as citizens, being given the chance to freely exercise religion without interference and to have an institution that wholly represents Muslims. It is obvious that the US has showed its concerns about Ethiopian Muslim awakening. The US Ambassador to Ethiopia, David H. Shinn, in his blog has said “You can be sure that if the government believes any mosque is spreading extremism, it will take measures to end the extremism.” The definition of “extremism” has been used and misused. This is the worry and concern of Ethiopian Muslims. No! There is nothing wrong with Islam in Ethiopia and nothing has gone wrong with the Muslims. We just want to make ourselves feel at home. If for a Ethiopian Muslim to ask for her rights is “extremism”, then the question should be “What went wrong with the government of Ethiopia?” If feeling Ethiopian is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Once again please accept my appreciation for keeping up the magazine. It is informative and with good report on current issues. But your article on Islam in Ethiopia (What went wrong with Islam in Ethiopia?, June 2012) has not been that much to deserve appreciation. So far you had prominent writers with fair judgment and without biased opinion. Salehedin’s article was very unjustifiable. I think he made his own internal feeling public without consideration of the opinion of the large majority.
We have Muslim ministers with significant positions in our country. Moreover, the government is not at all wrong to be worried about extremism. Writers should be considerate and with good judgment. Your magazine will definitely be discredited if people like Salehedin are coming as “lead story analysts”.
Ahmed Hassen Aba-Jobir