June 6/2019 Religious fathers urged followers for inter-faith companionship to sustain the long standing religious peaceful coexistence in the country.
Ethiopia is a multi ethnic nation endowed with diversified culture, language and religion.
Christianity and Islam are the two dominant religions in the country where most Ethiopians cherished religious peaceful coexistence for centuries.
Other religious denominations have also been introduced in Ethiopia following Christianity and Islam and the Ethiopian constitution provides for the equality of all religions.
The advent of Christianity in Ethiopia dates back to the first century AD where as the first followers of Islam came to Ethiopia in the 615 AD.
Since the introduction of religious faith in Ethiopia, diversity of religions has prevailed in the country and the communities were helping each other on various aspects of their social life.
Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Bernabas told ENA that religious diversity and coexistence is one of the deep rooted spiritual values of the country that need to be enhanced and strengthened by followers of any religion.
He called up on followers to give high value for peaceful coexistence among the adherent of various religions primarily because the prevalence of peace and unity among the peoples of Ethiopia is vital for the well being of the nation.
“We Ethiopian Muslims and Christians have long standing social interaction in sharing contentment and sorrow together. We have grown up together and have been educated in the same school. We Christians and Muslims are helping each other while we are constructing and building churches and mosques. These types of sacred social norms are allowed by God/Allah,” he pointed out.
Religious fathers are working hard on peace, love and unity among peoples with different religious backgrounds to sustain the long standing peaceful coexistence in the country, he noted.
People have to be respected merely because they are human beings and not because they are belong to a certain religious group. Any religion preaches love and peace for all human beings and Ethiopian Orthodox Church is also doing the same, he added.
He stated that “My Orthodox religion is not right if I disregard followers of Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Judaism, Buddhism and others. It is our choice to follow any religion but respecting the faith and religion of others’ is our religious doctrine.”
Imam of the Grand Anwar Mosque, Haji TahaMuhamed said Ethiopia is a model for diverse inter-religions peaceful coexistence for centuries.
“Ethiopia is a model for religious tolerance and diversity that Muslims, Christians and others have been living together by respecting one another. They have been cooperating with one another in their grief, wedding and other ceremonies,” he added.
Initially, it was the Ethiopian Christian King Negash (Al Nejashi) who received the first followers Islam and saved them from the persecution, he noted.
The King and the Christian communities in northern part of Ethiopia respected the first Muslim followers and allowed them to freely preach their faith peacefully, he indicated.
He stated that “Since the introduction of Islam in the northern part of the country, the Muslims were freely teaching Islam for others. At that time Muslims were minority, the majority Christian communities had respected the right and dignity of Muslims. Since that time our religious coexistence has been one of the major unifying factors of our social life.”
By acquiring knowledge from reading historical books and taking experiences of forefathers, the new generation is expected to work on continuing and strengthening the peaceful religious coexistence in the country, he pointed out.
He called for inter-religious friendship to counter misperceptions, prejudices and mistrust between peoples of different religious followers.