Federal parliamentary republic
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
In Ethiopia, it’s not just converts to Christianity from Islam who can face harsh mistreatment from their families and communities, it’s also those who join Protestant groups from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC).
In some places, Islamic extremist groups have attacked churches. Meanwhile, political violence in the country—focused largely around the conflict in Tigray—has also taken its toll on Christian communities, with many Christians killed and churches destroyed. The country has also been gravely affected by drought and plagues. All of these issues create uncertainty, making Christians a soft target.
Pressure can also come from the government. In areas where Muslims or Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are in the majority, local officials may oppose the growth of Protestant Christianity and refuse to grant permits for meetings and worship.
Roda became a Christian after attending Bible studies. She boldly declared her new faith by wearing a necklace that had a cross on it. Once noticed, the persecution began, but Roda continues to bravely stand firm in her faith.
“From now on, I will bow down to the Messiah, the One who has saved me.”
Broadly speaking, pressure on Christians in Ethiopia has intensified, despite the country dropping two places on the World Watch List. Opposition has increased in family, church and community life. While there has been a drop in recorded incidents of violence, this must be understood in the context of ongoing conflicts—such as the fighting in Tigray—where it’s difficult to differentiate between faith and ethnic/political related attacks.
The severity and form of persecution varies by region. For example, Christians in Amhara and Tigray are especially vulnerable to persecution from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), whereas in places like Oromia, Afar and the Somali region persecution largely stems from Islamic extremists. The most severe cases of persecution tend to come in Gurage, Silte and Alaba, which are just south of the capital Addis Ababa.
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen Christians in Ethiopia with leadership and persecution survival training, economic empowerment projects, livelihood skills training, and women’s and youth ministry.