Islam, the Nature of Peace and State Society Relations in Contemporary Ethiopia: Implications for National Integration

Mohammed Yimer


This study assesses the nature of peace, religion and society in Ethiopia, examines conflict trends since 1991 and their implications for national integration, and identifies the underlying causes, actors, and consequences of the conflicts. The study relies on key informant interviews, focus group discussion of key stakeholders and critical analysis of relevant documents. The study indicated that an official policy change has been observed in terms of interference, dichotomization and accusations for alleged radicalizing activities of Ethiopian Muslims. Nonetheless, policies continue to undermine the constitution and erode the official ideology that Ethiopia is a secular state model. Although the policy of containing Islam predates the current regime, this regime has innovated by attempting to convince ordinary Ethiopian Muslims to accept the ideology of a Lebanese sect, ideas that the government believes will curb extremism. The study further reveals that the confrontation between the state and the Muslim community that began in 2011 has led to growing interference of the government in religious affairs, further violation of the secular constitution, and deterioration of relations between the state and the Muslim community. This threatens the government’s goal of creating one political and economic community.

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