Muslims renegotiating marginality in contemporary Ethiopia
Ethiopian Muslims have only had access to public space and opportunity for religious self-definition and collective influence since 1991. During little more than two decades, how have they advanced subjective agency within the political constraints of the current government, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF? This article addresses that question by backgrounding the history of Islamic expansion into Ethiopia, tracing Muslim engagement with Christian political elites over several hundred years, till the latter part of the 21st century. After the deposition of Haile Selasse in 1974, the DERG assumed power and in the name of a socialist agenda, suppressed all religions from 1975-1991. DERG socialism has been replaced by EPRDF pluralism, yet the structural constraints of the latter have weakened the efforts of Ethiopian Muslims to find their rightful place in the public square. Abetted and assisted by overseas immigrant communities, in both Western Europe and North America, Ethiopian Muslims continue to contest securitization and marginalization by the state, even as they struggle with regional, national and transnational issues that impact all Muslim identity politics in the second decade of the 21st century. © 2014 Hartford Seminary.
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