The Ethiopian government came out lately with full resource and forces to impose a rejected Ahbash ideology on its Muslim populace. Under the disguise of fighting religious extremism,the government brought into the country proselytizing crew from Lebanon. Even if the negotiation between Ethiopian government and the Ahbash group goes back to several years,the execution of the project was formally started during what is know to us as the “Harar Ahbash Indoctrination Conference”in July,2011. For this conference the government is reported to have allocated 6 million birr and brought in 15 senior Ahbash leaders from Lebanon. The group indoctrinated nearly 800 people with its ideology.
The ideology of Ahbash is by far and large align to Muslims and for this it is declared deviant by Muslim scholars and institutions worldwide. The group promotes among others discord and schism among Muslims and declares all those who do not belong to its ideology disbelievers,Kafir. It is not surprising thus that the very first training in Harar was devoted to instill in the hearts and minds of those in attendance this evil thought. Ever since,the group is calling upon Ethiopian Muslims to re-testify their testimony of Belief as if they had lived this long in disbelief. Senior officials of the EPRDF government appeared in each and every event and expressed their unreserved determination to see the project succeed.
Despite an intensive engagement of the Ethiopian government and its Office for the Terrorization of Ethiopian Muslims,
Majlis,the resistance of Ethiopian Muslims to the ideology is unparalleled. It was said that Ethiopian Muslims give due respect and thus bow down to people who speak Arabic. From there it was assumed that when these Arabs from Lebanon and Syria got on to the stage and utter their mantra,people would line up to give their pledge. If at all there is to be resistence,it would be from few Wahabis for whom a procedure to silence them had already been put in place. The reality seen in all the events,from local to national stages,was however a firm resistance. Even the ordinary believers could not but see the whole endeavor of the gevornment with great suspesion. Even if they lack the fundamental knowledge to present a theological argument to Ahbash ideology,their national pride and trust in their religious leaders compelled them to follow every move with extra attention.
Islam in Ethiopia preceeds its public declation in the city of Mekka. With such a long history in the country,Islam produced unique individuals who raised high and implant the true messages of Islam in the hearts of the faithful. As is true to its history,contemporary Ethiopia is reach with people of caliber who not olny can easily quanch the spiritual trust of their people but can also play indespensibe role at the global stage. It has thus came as a wonder to many for why the government of Ethiopia decided to bring in foreigners who don’t have a clue about the Muslim community and its history,and what moral right would these people have to tell Ethiopian Muslims "to become Muslims.”
Realizing this unexpected reality,government summoned a meeting of its high level officials (Ministers) right after the completion of the second round of the Ahbash indoctrination conferences and to deliberate on the situation. Sources close to this particular meeting have told Negashi OJ that the Ministers agreed with one voice in that it was a MISTAKE to bring a crew from Lebanon. In no logic,it was said,can Lebanon be a model for religiosity,peace or anything close to these. Lebanon is known for its internal division and infighting among the different political and religious groups. The name of the EPRDF’s peace Champion,Ahbash, actually stands at the forefront of instability,killings and profanity in Lebanese and far beyond. Far from being an icon and herald of peace,the teachings and actions of the group in fact have been the cause of rift among Muslims themselves,the Muslim community and their governments and the Muslims and non-Muslim community.
Despite the government’s acknowledgement of the impending difficulty in its effort to indoctrinate Ethiopian Muslims with the alien Ahbash ideology,the above mentioned Ministerial meeting expressed the government’s determination to get the project through. Participants were then demanded to come up with alternatives. It was at this point that one participant who proposed to down scale the involvement of the Lebanese and shift eye on to Turkey. He indicated that there is a group in Turkey*,with similar ideology as Ahbash and EPRDF would write the same goal if it invites this group to involve in the project. This particular individual argued that Turkey would be a boost for the success of the whole project. For one thing Turkey lies in Europe,well developed economically and is a democracy. These images of Turkey would be a huge public relation asset and guarante its success. Further it was mentioned that Turkey has a far deeper and strong historical and cultural link with Ethiopian Muslims and it is now well represented both in development and business activities in the country. After a passionate discussion,the meeting was concluded by agreeing to set up a special working group with prime task of preparing a formal document as to how the government would exploit this avenue. It was agreed during the same seating on the need for the Lebanese Ahbashi’s involvement at all stages of the whole process.
Since that meeting there are indications that the government has taken the proposal seriously and have taken already measures to that effect.
The president of the EPRDF Office for the Terrorization of Ethiopian Muslims
Majlis,is to attend a meeting in Turkey this coming week. He is scheduled to hold a sideline meeting with the said group and discuss on the proposal. Upon his return,the government will dispatch a high level delegation to Turkey and discuss with the political leadership on the proposal and creat understanding for evental ‘cooperation’in the project. Most Turkish recent Arabs specially the government of Saudi Arabia for the disintegration of the Khalifa system and the Ethiopian government is to play that card in getting concession from the Turkey’sh leadership –not opposing the idea is by itself good enough for EPRDF to invite the group to Ethiopia and push the project to its final end.
In the meantime our sources have indicated that Dr. Samir Kadi of Ahbash Lebanon has moved to Addis Ababa and the government has offered him house,security guard and other financial and technical support to secure his comfort. It is said that he will be coordinating the project. The Ahbash Lebanon is in no good terms with Muslim organisations including the various known Sufi orders,the group it claims to represent. Yet it seems to have no problem with this Turkish group. It is typical of Ahbash to cooperate with any individual or group that would speed up the success of their worldwide activities. One issue that we hope to resolve soon is if this said group is an independant group or just a branch of the worldwide Ahbash network.
Dr. Samir Kadi,a peace icon of the Ethiopian government,was implicated by a US District Court in Boston for being behind a conspiracy to commit Extortion. The crime dated back to March 1997.
* Our sources named this Turkish group as Waqif al Ehsan. However we could not retrieve information on the teachings and ideology of the group from the cyber world. Our search with the name of the group did not return any relevant link. It is not clear also if this group is a separate entity with its own teaching and ideology or just a branch of the worldwide Ahbash Network. Ahbash is known also as Association of Islamic Charitable Projects.