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Conference on Religious Tolerance opens in Ethiopia



A conference to promote religious tolerance and coexistence in Ethiopia, organized by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and the Council for Interreligious Affairs, opened on Tuesday in the capital, Addis Ababa. The meeting focuses on the Constitution and the principle of freedom of religion in the country. It has brought together 2,500 participants from all regions of Ethiopia. Among them, the Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Abuna Mathias, and the president of the Supreme Islamic Council, Sheikh Mohamed Kiyar. In the opening speech, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stressed the need to combat fundamentalism and religious extremism. He said the Ethiopian Constitution establishes a division between religion and politics, and that it promotes the equality of all citizens irrespective of their ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. On several occasions in recent months Ethiopia witnessed a number of protests from the Moslem community, which accused the government of discrimination as well as heavy interference in religious matters.




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