Ethiopia Facts

Score: 65 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 107,535,000
Christians: 64,037,000
Main Religion: Christianity
Government: Federal Republic
Leader: President Sahle-Work Zewde

Profile of Persecution

Violence 81%
Church Life 62%
National Life 65%
Community Life 61%
Family Life 60%
Private Life 60%

Expanding Islam and Christian targets

In Ethiopia, radical Islam is growing at the local, regional and national levels. Particularly in the rural areas, where Muslims are the majority, Christians are harassed and often denied access to communal resources. The new prime minister has spurred hope for Christians regarding the future of Ethiopia, but the government is not in control of the entire country. In areas where control is lacking, Christian persecution is a common fear and believers are still targeted.

How Christians are suffering

All Christian communities are affected by persecution in Ethiopia, although some denominations are more affected than others. Non-traditional Christians face the harshest persecution both from the government and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Converts to Christianity from a Muslim background, particularly in eastern and southeastern parts of the country, as well as cross-denominational converts from an Orthodox background, face harsh mistreatment from their families and communities. In some areas, Christians are denied access to community resources and sometimes ostracized from society. In addition, in some regions of the country mobs will attack churches.


On August 4, 2018, a two-day period of violence erupted in which Muslim mobs targeted the Christian minority in Ethiopia’s Somali Region; 15 Orthodox priests were among those killed. Ten Orthodox churches were set ablaze and nine evangelical churches were also vandalized or looted.

Pray for Ethiopia

  • Pray for the government to investigate violence perpetrated against Christians and bring  those who are responsible to justice.
  • Pray that Christians from different denominations will have unity to face the challenge of persecution as one church.
  • Pray for Islamic oppression to weaken and for the threat against Christians to soften within the country.
  • Pray for greater freedom for the Church in Ethiopia, and for God to reveal His truth to Ethiopian government officials.
  • Christians are often denied resources and discriminated against when looking for work. Pray the Lord would provide for persecuted believers.

Stories from Ethiopia

May 31, 2018

Cross Draws Ethiopian Muslim to Christ–Secret Faith Brings Peace in Midst of Family’s Vow to Kill Him

In Ethiopia (#29 on the World Watch List), government regulations restrict the freedom of religion, while in some parts of…


December 13, 2017

Faces of Persecution: Children Like Wasihun Give Us Glimpses of Grace

In this series of articles focusing on the children of the persecuted church, we meet the Kemede family and Wasihun,…


November 16, 2017

Ethiopia: Theology Course Equips Leaders to Teach the Word

In the face of persecution, Ethiopian evangelist Sube* continues to follow Jesus and even has a plan to help others…