Ethiopia Facts

Score: 62 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 104,345,000
Christians: 61,956,000
Main Religion: Christianity
Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Leader: President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 62%
Church Life 63%
National Life 65%
Community Life 65%
Family Life 60%
Private Life 58%

Where Persecution Comes From

In Ethiopia, Christian persecution stems from multiple sources: the government, Islam, secularism and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC). Government regulations restrict the freedom of religion, while in some parts of the country, conservative Muslims pose challenges for believers, especially converts. Secularism, particularly government bans on religious broadcasting and religious activities within schools, restrict the freedoms of Christians to worship, teach and preach. Meanwhile, those who leave the EOC denomination face persecution from family members, communities and government officials that are members of the denomination.

How Christians are Suffering

While all Christians in Ethiopia face persecution, different denominations experience it in varying degrees. Protestants outside of traditional denominations experience the worst persecution at the hands of the government and the EOC denomination. Arrests and disappearances of believers are common in the country, and those who leave Islam or the EOC face harsh mistreatment, sometimes being denied access to community resources. In some cases, Christians are cut off from society completely.


In the WWL 2017 reporting period, there were more than 100 violent incidents against Christians recorded in Ethiopia.

In July 2017, a Muslim mob attacked a 27-year-old man in his home with machetes after first attacking and partly damaging a local church building in Hirna, a rural town. The mob was incited over evangelism taking place in the area.

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Pray for Ethiopia

  • The government fears that religious leaders could initiate a regime change, and as a result has severely restricted the activities of religious organizations. Pray for greater freedom for the Church in Ethiopia, and for God to reveal His truth to Ethiopian government officials.
  • Pray for unity between believers. Sadly, many divisions between denominations exist. Pray for reform within all churches claiming Christ in Ethiopia.
  • Persecution from family and community are common. In many cases, Christians are denied community resources and are discriminated against when looking for work. Pray that the Lord would provide for the persecuted church in Ethiopia.

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

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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…