Center for Development and Capacity (CDCB) had organized a Panel discussion on “Anticipated Religious Conflict” in Ethiopia in March 2021. Focus of the discussion at the time ‘secularism, religion and identity’ issues. It was a panel discussion organized based on the rapid assessment conducted to identify issues of conflict and their causes. The assessment revealed that inter-and intra-religious conflicts are one of the major issues of conflict in Ethiopia. The causes are found to be emanating from the interplay of religion, Politics and identity. Promotion of secularism and raising public awareness on these issues are some of the recommendations to reduce inter-and intra-religious tensions.
Thus, the panel discussion was organized to create awareness on the potential issues of violence and generate ideas to work on peace building and social cohesions. Two religious’ scholars (from Christianity and Islam) presented a paper on the concept and importance of Secularism and neutrality of religious teachings from identity politics in line with the Holy Bible and the Holy Koran/Qur’an.
The panel discussion was to generate evidence on the importance of Secularism and neutrality of religious teachings from identity politics and promote these issues through various media platforms (social and mainstream). Evidence was obtained from the religious scholars about historical attributes of religious orientations in Ethiopia and the dominant role of religious institutions in promoting social cohesion, harmony, peace and stability. Yet, this would be possible if the leaders are committed to religious principles and moral restraints.
However, when these institutions are used for certain political, economic, and other interest groups, they would have a stronger divisive power than any other. In our country, there is a perception that some religious institutions are highly affiliated to certain political ideologies and promote the interest of such groups. Apparently, if the perception is true, it denies equal rights of religions as stipulated in the Constitution (EFDR Constitution Article 27). CDCB tried to make a wakeup call well ahead of time before conditions may get worse. We keep on updating our sensitization activities that are founded on credible revelations to react appropriately to new developments.
The CDCB recommends concerned parties to conduct dialogue for peaceful resolution of conflicts before death and destruction take effect. The use of force is not advisable while peaceful means could yield the intended results. At the same time, it would be mandatory to discipline the media fanfare to add fire to fuel under the prevailing worrisome tensions.
The CDCB is proud of its works done through consulting public figures who gave their credible information of forewarning. Societies of the better enlightened world say, “Forewarned is forearmed” to indicate the need for preparations before things get out of hand. We hope our religious institutions abide by religious principles and moral restraints.