WORLD WATCH LIST

Ethiopia

#32

Those who convert from Islam or to non-traditional denominations are threatened.

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"We were thrown out of our home. So, I took my children and left. [My in-laws] told me that nobody loved me and that there was nowhere for me to go."

– Worke*

Country
Profile

Region
Africa
Sources of persecution
Islamic Oppression
Population
123,771,000
Christian population
74,679,000
Religions
Christianity
Leader
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Score
69

What’s Life Like For Christians?

The level of freedom Christians have in Ethiopia depends on where you live and what kind of Christian you are. The country is one of the world’s oldest majority-Christian countries, but most of these believers belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), which can itself persecute Christians who leave the EOC for evangelicalism or other Protestant denominations.

Families and communities who are part of the EOC may also pressure or mistreat a Christian who has chosen a non-traditional Christian expression. Because the EOC has many supporters in the government, converts also risk pressure from state officials, especially in Regional State and lower-level government workers outside of larger cities.

However, the most overt forms of persecution happen in areas dominated by Islam. In these regions, converts to Christianity can face social ostracism and church attacks by Islamic extremists. Families and communities may pressure converts and use violence against them in attempts to get them to return to Islam.

Who Is Most Vulnerable To Persecution?

Ethiopian Christians who convert from Islam are most vulnerable to persecution. It is common for Christian converts especially to experience physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

Leaders of the church are often targeted in violent attempts to destroy the entire Christian community. In rural areas, women and girls who convert to Christianity are abducted and forced into marriage, or forced to marry a Muslim man by their own families in a misguided attempt to protect and honour the family unit.

PRAY FOR ETHIOPIA

– That converts from Islam or the EOC will be protected from violence and abuse.

– For the peace of believers amidst pressure from families and communities.

– That Open Doors’ local partners would be protected while they work.

What Does Open Doors Do To Help?

Open Doors works through the local church to strengthen Christians in Ethiopia with leadership, persecution survival training, and economic empowerment projects.

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