Originally published in God Reports
An Ethiopian evangelist suffered significant wounds to his head when he was attacked by a group of radical Muslims with machetes.
The 27-year-old man – who cannot be named for security reasons – was attacked on July 16 while he was alone in his home in Hirna, about 400km miles east of the capital, Addis Ababa, according to a report by World Watch Monitor (WWM).
He received life-saving surgery in Adama, where a doctor, believing he would die en route to a bigger hospital, operated on his wounds. The surgery stabilised him so he could be taken to another facility for more specialised treatment.
The gang of Islamists who attacked the man was upset because he was evangelising. First they attacked the man’s place of worship, Full Gospel Church, damaging a portion of its roof and a wall before going to the man’s house, a source told WWM.
Violent attacks directed against Christians in Ethiopia increased during 2017, according to Open Doors. They recorded more than 100 clashes that included physical attacks on people and businesses, imprisonment, and murder.
Christians in Ethiopia face other forms of persecution. A Muslim convert to Christianity will often be rejected by family members, denied inheritance and child custody rights. Evangelical Christians face opposition from the more conservative Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as well as the government.
Christians make up 60% of the population, according to Joshua Project. Over the past 10 years Ethiopia’s religious breakdown has shifted – for centuries the country consisted of an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian at the centre, a Sunni Muslim zone in the east, and an animist/indigenous-faith area in the south and the far west.
In the last decade, indigenous faiths have contracted, often due to increases among evangelicals, which is said to be the fastest-growing religious group in Ethiopia. This is making the country home to “one of the fastest growing evangelical churches in the world,” according to theologian Allan Anderson.