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'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by vedaxcool(m): 8:41am On Aug 16, 2013
[img]http://www.loonwatch.com/2013/08/salat-man-is-symbol-of-resistance-for-muslims-in-ethiopia/salat_man/[/img]

Ethiopian Muslims have been struggling for over two years now to secure their religious freedom and rights against state interference and discrimination. It is a story that does not receive much coverage but one inspiring image may change all of that.

By Mohammed Ademo (AlJazeera English)

The appeal of non-violence as a means of social transformation is almost universal. Few deny its awesome power when unleashed with discipline. However, in the face of an impeding danger, especially one known to be as brutal as they come, it takes a lot of courage to remain nonviolent. Even though it calls for more valor than one need in a pitched battle, history has recorded only a handful of such defiant acts of ultimate heroism in man’s long quest for freedom and justice.

But no incident exemplifies the true genius of such silent rebellion more than China’s Tank Man. The year was 1989, at the height of a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing that saw hundreds, if not thousands, dead and many more arrested. A sole rebel, whose identity remains unknown quarter of a century later, took matters onto his own hands by blocking the advance of rumbling Chinese tanks near Tiananmen Square – at least 18 of them ­- dispatched to squash the popular protests threatening one-party rule, once and for all.

The Unknown Soldier walked to the middle of the street, held what looked like a shopping bag, and swerved left and right to halt the advance of the juggernaut. The symbolism of his defiance was instantly broadcast around the world and photos of his heroic resistance were globally published. Even in the pre-Internet era, that single image of a skinny young man blocking the path of the most fearsome of war machines immortalised the eventual triumph of the fight against authoritarianism worldwide.

Ethiopia’s ‘China Tank Man’

On August 8, 2013 – far from China’s Tiananmen Square, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, a lone worshiper prayed the Eid Salat and was encircled by an army of riot police. The image shows a man on his knees praying unintimidated as a phalange of soldiers, bearing shields and batons, looked on. The desolate background, apparently deserted by other worshipers fearful for their lives or carted away, against an array of uniform police magnifies the image of this unknown rebel. Asked to name the faithful in the picture, Dimtsachin Yisema, the Facebook group often seen as the de facto leading body of the horizontal Ethiopian Muslims movement, said in an email, “it was sent to us by an activist.”

Like the Chinese activists of the 80s, even if for different grievances, Muslims in Ethiopia have been protesting against government interference in religious matters for nearly two years.

Some 29 leaders of the nonviolent campaign that calls on the Ethiopian government to respect it’s own constitution remain incarcerated on tramped up terrorism charges, the same charges used to muzzle journalists like Eskinder Nega and dissenting politicians Bekele Garba .

A week before Eid-al-Fitr in Kofele, central Oromia, far removed from the prying eyes of foreign cameras, over a dozen Muslim protesters, including a mother and child, were massacred in broad daylight. The story received passing references in the mainstream media. A foreign correspondent who visited the town few days after the incident was returned to the capital under threat of imprisonment.

As was with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 , sometimes it takes a symbolic gesture to inspire courage. The photo of the ” Salat Man” in Addis Ababa will likely go down the annals of history as one of the most iconic symbols in the history of not just the Muslim protests but also of the struggle of the country’s diverse population for an end to the mounting repression by a one-party rule, now in power for more than two decades.

Although similar in appearance, the two iconic images faced starkly different fates. One was captured by CNN and the Associated Press cameras – and instantly broadcast around the world. The other was captured by a citizen journalist, perhaps with a mobile phone camera, and casually uploaded on Facebook.

Ethiopia, a donor darling of the West, is considered to be one of the most oppressive countries for journalists. It also boasts the largest number of exiled journalists in the world.

Under these dire circumstances, even with a below regional average Internet penetration rate, social media has enabled Ethiopian activists, at least in urban areas, to organise and get their message across more effectively than the state, albeit to an indifferent world .

Paradigm shift?

Protests are rare in Ethiopia. The last sustained protests in the country’s long but troubled history took down Emperor Haile Selassie, the last monarch. The fatal blow to the tottering imperial regime was delivered by Muslim protesters, joined by their liberal Christian allies, who staged one of the largest demonstrations preceding the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974. The ongoing Muslim movement is the most sustained, unified and well organised the country has seen, perhaps in its entire history.

Muslims, estimated to be more than a third of Ethiopia’s 93 million people, began protesting against government meddling in religious affairs in late 2011. Demonstrations were set off when students at the nation’s only Islamic institute walked out of classes after their teachers were dismissed, and replaced by regime loyalists through a government edict in an effort to impose Lebanese Islamic sect called Al-Ahbash .

But the incident had an unforeseen consequence for the regime; it served as a catalyst for a wider Muslim movement that called for a redress of years of marginalisation and silent suffering. The protesters demanded a free and fair election of Islamic leaders to the highest Muslim council, known as Majlis.

First, the government agreed to negotiate with the protesters. The protesters elected a committee of 17 Muslim activists to communicate their grievances to the authorities. When the negotiations failed, the regime arrested all of them in a desperate attempt to nip the movement that it deemed extremist at the bud. This too backfired as the protester’s calls grew bolder and their nonviolent tactics more sophisticated. Ironically, the jailed leaders of the two-year-old protest movement were among the most educated and moderate Muslim thinkers the public has known.

As was the case in China throughout the 1980s, Ethiopia’s state-run media have launched continuous attacks on the movement and its leaders, including a now famous mockumentary called Jihadawi Harakat. The fictitious film juxtaposes unrelated events in an attempt to link the protesters to terrorist groups in Mali, Nigeria, and Somalia.

Absent the alternative, activists now use social media as a primary broadcasting medium. The greatest strengths of utilizing digital platforms are also its greatest weaknesses. Given the information overload on social media networks, some of the most important messages can easily be buried – including the photo of the Salat Man .

If the image of Tank Man was one of the top 10 photos that changed the world, then when the symbolism and the defiant spirit of the Salat Man finally reaches the public – those on the exteriors of Facebook walls – his image too will forever inspire a generation of Ethiopian human rights activists, Muslims or not.

Mohammed Ademo is a New York-based freelance journalist. A recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School, he’s also the founder and editor of OPride.com, an independent news website about Ethiopia.

Follow him on Twitter at @OPride.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/08/2013814101647856399.html

4 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by maclatunji: 10:20am On Aug 16, 2013
^That is one very brave man. #Respect

12 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 12:56pm On Aug 16, 2013
the majority of ethiopians are muslims. almost all oromo people are and it is the largest ethnic group. the problems with muslims are that we are not in the right frame of mind when it comes to our interrelationship disregarding the boundary of ethnicity and we do not go proportionally into military, other security aparatus and even politics with the same concept that muslims are one body, first; protecting and feeling the hurt of the least part of the body.

if the ethiopian muslims had been active in their societal process all along, when the evil ellie salesie was asking the police and other security arms to butcher him, he would not have dared to imagine so and if he did, he would have been buried much earlier rather than later than when mangistu did and peeing on the place.


i have been telling friends from that country to go into politics instead of allowing the minority to givern over and also carry the rifles. when you meet most of the christian ethiopians, you will understand their hatred of islam. such unparalleled, almost like near the madness of pastor haige and rabbi lapski on tv.

2 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by MrAboki: 3:42pm On Aug 16, 2013
Funny Name..


Sounds like 'Salad Man'.. grin


Allahu Akbar..

5 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by CaptJHMiller: 3:45pm On Aug 16, 2013
Alhamdallah.. Another one, more..
Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by abu0710102013: 3:50pm On Aug 16, 2013
Good article but it cannot make a headline because its pro-islam. JUMA'AT MUBARAK TO ALL MUSLIMS

6 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 3:50pm On Aug 16, 2013
Mr Aboki: Funny Name..


Sounds like 'Salad Man'.. grin


Allahu Akbar..




Infact ehn, i nearly taught it was salad, which made me so interested.

2 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by bismarck: 3:59pm On Aug 16, 2013
Emmm...What do we call this? An act of religious piety or brazen defiance to personal and public safety? Why pray in the middle of a main road, meant to serve general interest? Does this self-acclaimed activist realize that he is intentionally radicalizing otherwise well-meaning muslims? The only good thing about this post is that the police must have picked him after his 'activist' praying....to continue doing same indefinitely in Ethiopian kirikiri

1 Like

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 4:01pm On Aug 16, 2013
I trust the Ethiopians will not allow islam any space to Expand.

Kudos to the Ethiopian Government.

10 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by RoyalRoy(m): 4:03pm On Aug 16, 2013
Thats one brave man. Thumbs up.

On a serious note, this is the very first time ever (aside the post 9/11 security beef up in most western countries) am hearing muslims being discriminated upon.....used to be the other way round.
Interesting!!
Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 4:04pm On Aug 16, 2013
Log on cos i lov salad alot. But now am disappointed..;( embarassed
Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by RoyalRoy(m): 4:13pm On Aug 16, 2013
jackbauersballs: I trust the Ethiopians will not allow islam any space to Expand.

Kudos to the Ethiopian Government.
Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 4:21pm On Aug 16, 2013
RoyPCain: the majority of ethiopians are muslims. almost all oromo people are and it is the largest ethnic group. the problems with muslims are that we are not in the right frame of mind when it comes to our interrelationship disregarding the boundary of ethnicity and we do not go proportionally into military, other security aparatus and even politics with the same concept that muslims are one body, first; protecting and feeling the hurt of the least part of the body.

if the ethiopian muslims had been active in their societal process all along, when the evil ellie salesie was asking the police and other security arms to butcher him, he would not have dared to imagine so and if he did, he would have been buried much earlier rather than later than when mangistu did and peeing on the place.


i have been telling friends from that country to go into politics instead of allowing the minority to givern over and also carry the rifles. when you meet most of the christian ethiopians, you will understand their hatred of islam. such unparalleled, almost like near the madness of pastor haige and rabbi lapski on tv.

Who told you that the majority of Ethiopians are Muslim? Please cross check your fact the main religion in Ethiopia is Orthodox.

8 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by azibit: 4:23pm On Aug 16, 2013
MAY ALLAH CONTINUE TO RAISE HIS RELIGION TO GREATER HEIGHTS. KUDOS TO THE BROTHER. ALLAHU AKBAR

13 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 4:31pm On Aug 16, 2013
@jackbauerballs: ethiopia is majority muslim, except the muslims refused to enter secutity organizations. if they were in the military, none of these oppression and nonsense will happen.

@bismarck; it is both. piety and defiance.
Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by solomon111(m): 4:39pm On Aug 16, 2013
Ethiopia is an orthodox christian state.
If muslims don't like it,they can leave.

7 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by solomon111(m): 4:44pm On Aug 16, 2013
RoyPCain: @jackbauerballs: ethiopia is majority muslim, except the muslims refused to enter secutity organizations. if they were in the military, none of these oppression and nonsense will happen.

@bismarck; it is both. piety and defiance.
Ethiopia is majorly muslim?
Lol.
You must be high on crack.

6 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 4:54pm On Aug 16, 2013
RoyPCain: @jackbauerballs: ethiopia is majority muslim, except the muslims refused to enter secutity organizations. if they were in the military, none of these oppression and nonsense will happen.

@bismarck; it is both. piety and defiance.
hahAhaha majority Muslim indeed,what are u smoking? U think ethiopia will be this peaceful if Muslims are majority?

7 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Nobody: 4:57pm On Aug 16, 2013
RoyPCain: @jackbauerballs: ethiopia is majority muslim, except the muslims refused to enter secutity organizations. if they were in the military, none of these oppression and nonsense will happen.

@bismarck; it is both. piety and defiance.



Bros make you dey read facts b4 u post na.

Ethiopia, According to the 2007 National Census, Christians make up 62.8% of the country's population (43.5% Ethiopian Orthodox, 19.3% other denominations), Muslims 33.9%, practitioners of traditional faiths 2.6%, and other religions 0.6%

Source- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopia#Religion

4 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by mu2sa2: 5:01pm On Aug 16, 2013
bismarck: Emmm...What do we call this? An act of religious piety or brazen defiance to personal and public safety? Why pray in the middle of a main road, meant to serve general interest? Does this self-acclaimed activist realize that he is intentionally radicalizing otherwise well-meaning muslims? The only good thing about this post is that the police must have picked him after his 'activist' praying....to continue doing same indefinitely in Ethiopian kirikiri

The lone salat man is not the one blocking the road. Put on your glasses and you will see that it's the phalanx of policemen who are barricading the road quite unnecessarily.

3 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by micdmic: 5:06pm On Aug 16, 2013
y so much hatred for islam,understand ur religion and let ISLAM be for muslims...

5 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by solomon111(m): 5:13pm On Aug 16, 2013
micdmic: y so much hatred for islam,understand ur religion and let ISLAM be for muslims...
Your muslim nations are doing far much worse evil to christian minorities.
So nobody will listen to any cry of "muslim minority persecution".

9 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by basilico: 5:22pm On Aug 16, 2013
Great I can post Thought I was banned after my tirade about the Coptic churches burnt by islam yesterday. ANYWAy muslims make a third of Ethiopia and whenever islam rears its head violence is sure to follow. Lets wait and see when they get to 50% there will be untold violence and terrorist acts which is an islamic signature guaranteed as an Angote's cheque.

2 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by bismarck: 5:24pm On Aug 16, 2013
mu2sa2: The lone salat man is not the one blocking the road. Put on your glasses and you will see that it's the phalanx of policemen who are barricading the road quite unnecessarily.

Foolish boy, so you see nothing wrong in your facebook activist hallucinating right in the middle of the road eeh? All the mosques in Ethiopia cannot contain his wretched body? Soon your type will call on muslims to be spreading their mats on Lagos- Ibadan express...Nasty fellow

1 Like

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by lafuria1(m): 5:37pm On Aug 16, 2013
bismarck:

Foolish boy, so you see nothing wrong in your facebook activist hallucinating right in the middle of the road eeh? All the mosques in Ethiopia cannot contain his wretched body? Soon your type will call on muslims to be spreading their mats on Lagos- Ibadan express...Nasty fellow
Ignorant fellow, did u even bother to know what's happening but as expected u choose not to read, rather spit out venom as if you have sense.

3 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Tsmooth1(m): 5:49pm On Aug 16, 2013
Allahu Akbar! We shld pray and support our muslim brother in Ethiopia and around the world. We love u brothers and support u!

5 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by jerseyboy: 5:50pm On Aug 16, 2013
RoyPCain: the majority of ethiopians are muslims. .
Delusional.
Ethiopian Christians know the only way to deal with islam is with Ruthless Force.
What was the result of Tiananmen square? China is still a one party state just as Ethiopia will remain forever christian. Muslems are only non-violent when they are overwhelmed. You know who was non-violent until he fled to Medina and then all hell broke loose

3 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by Dharyhor: 5:54pm On Aug 16, 2013
D issue other religions like xtians e.t.c av wit muslims is dat dey just dont lyk how dey worship,how dey become so pious 2 dere religion,d relationship btw dem dat is more loyal,,, 2 mention a few.
Dey shud just allow us 2 worship in our own way just as we dont disturb dem on how dey worship. nd moreover in any country's constitution av nt seen d one sayin religious activities ar restricted 2 certain respect, so dere must be freedom of worship nd nt anybody prying into any religion nd start controlling it
I beliv one day, truth wil be known, dose on d right path wil know and vice versa
I pray 2 Allah, no matter d oppression muslim will always stand firm 2 deir faith

2 Likes

Re: 'Salat Man' Is Symbol Of Resistance For Muslims In Ethiopia by giles14(m): 6:17pm On Aug 16, 2013
RoyPCain: the majority of ethiopians are muslims. almost all oromo people are and it is the largest ethnic group. the problems with muslims are that we are not in the right frame of mind when it comes to our interrelationship disregarding the boundary of ethnicity and we do not go proportionally into military, other security aparatus and even politics with the same concept that muslims are one body, first; protecting and feeling the hurt of the least part of the body.

if the ethiopian muslims had been active in their societal process all along, when the evil ellie salesie was asking the police and other security arms to butcher him, he would not have dared to imagine so and if he did, he would have been buried much earlier rather than later than when mangistu did and peeing on the place.


i have been telling friends from that country to go into politics instead of allowing the minority to givern over and also carry the rifles. when you meet most of the christian ethiopians, you will understand their hatred of islam. such unparalleled, almost like near the madness of pastor haige and rabbi lapski on tv.
mumu who told u dat.go check d population census of dat con3,u tink every con3 lik niegria wer all her citizen ar muslimi

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