Addis Ababa, MINA – Ethiopian Muslims on Tuesday welcomed the holy month of Ramadan, which will be marked by offering special prayers to seek an end to pandemic, violence, and economic hardships.
With around 28.7 million Muslims, they constitute 34 percent of the country’s population, making the country home to Sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest Muslim population after Nigeria. Anadolu Agency reported.
Ethiopia holds a special place in Islamic history, as its seventh-century ruler Amra Najashi gave shelter to the early Muslims who had fled persecution from Makkah in current Saudi Arabia.
The gesture allowed the Muslims to practice their religion freely and peacefully in what was then called The Kingdom of Axum.
The country also hosts the Al-Nejashi Mosque, the first Muslim house of worship in the Horn of Africa at Wuqro in the restive northern Tigray province. Local Muslims believe that 15 disciples of Prophet Muhammad are buried in the premises of this mosque.
Mohammed Ali, 72, a businessman said he is looking this year’s Ramadan to turn out a unique moment of peace for Ethiopian Muslims, who have been affected by conflicts like their other countrymen.
“Elders in my neighborhood are organizing special prayers to focus on peace, unity, and understanding in our country. We are sure Allah will return our prayers and we will see peace in Ethiopia once again,’’ he said.
Even as the war between federal forces and rebels has ended, sporadic fighting continues in the Tigray region and ethnic-based attacks in West Wollega in Oromia province and Metekel in Benishangul Gumuz province as well as in some pockets in the Amhara region.
“We often hear news of killings and displacements. Ethiopia is in a middle of a serious challenge. But during Ramadan, we will get hope, and strength to be above our problems,’’ said 38-year old Zuifa Shafi. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)