Source: World Watch Monitor, August 11, 2017
A Pentecostal church in Ethiopia has been ordered to stop meeting in a residential area in the wake of a mob attack on the church after which a church member was arrested for “illegal activities” that “incited religious clashes.”
The Full Gospel Church in Tikil Dingaye, 20km from the historic city of Gondar in Amhara State, previously applied for land on which to build a church, but its application was refused, leading the church to purchase a house in which to meet.
Although Ethiopia guarantees religious freedom on paper, Pentecostal churches in rural areas often face restrictions in a society dominated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC).
The attack on the church took place early in the morning of Sunday, June 11, when a mob destroyed the church’s meeting hall, offices, and the accommodation of a church worker. They also stole money from church members and assaulted some of them, including one man whose front teeth had to be removed due to the injuries he sustained.
The attackers are thought to have belonged to a student movement called Mahibere Kidusan, seen by its critics as “fanatical” in the way it operates to protect the traditions and dominance of the EOC in society.