Salafism, State-Politics, and the Question of “Extremism” in Ethiopia

By Terje Østebø, University of Florida
December 31, 2014

Mosque in Bahir Dar. Photo: Ondřej ŽváčekEthiopia is witnessing an expansion of the Salafi movement. The Ethiopian government has increasingly interpreted Salafism as extremist movement that is seeking political power and Islamization of the state. However, Salafism is a religious organization whose ideological roots support detachment from public and political life.  This misdiagnosis has prompted a misguided campaign by the Ethiopian government to limit religious expression. This could provoke precisely what it fears, a politicization of Salafism as a means to protect its religious freedoms.

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Security Topics: Countering Violent Extremism