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Ethiopia Muslims rally on Fridays as tension rises
By KIRUBEL TADESSE, Associated Press
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — As midday prayers came to an end at the Grand Anwar mosque in Ethiopia's capital, worshippers continued on to what has become a regular second act on Fridays — shouting anti-government slogans.
The demonstrations this Friday did not turn violent. But tensions are rising between the government in this mostly Christian country and Muslim worshippers. On Monday, federal prosecutors charged a group of 29 Muslims with terrorism and working to establish an Islamic republic.
Not all encounters between police and the protesters have been peaceful. In July, hundreds were arrested after a scuffle in the mosque that injured many and damaged property, including city buses.
Religious violence outside the capital has killed eight and wounded about a dozen this year in two incidents, including one last month when protesters tried to free jailed Muslim leaders in the Amhara region. Protests first erupted in December after the state, wary of Islamist extremists, wanted to change the leadership of a religious school in the capital.
The government also expelled two Arabs in May after the pair flew in from Middle East and disseminated pamphlets at the Anwar mosque. Two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christians; the rest are Muslims.
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