Ethiopian police clashed on Saturday with scores of Muslims protesters complaining that the state is interfering in their religion, witnesses and officials said. The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital Addis Ababa and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.
Thousands of Muslims have staged sporadic street protests in the capital since late last year, arguing that the government is promoting an alien branch of Islam, the Al Ahbash sect, which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents in the United States. The government denies promoting Al Ahbash, but is determined to prevent Islamic militancy spilling over from neighboring Sudan or lawless Somalia. Around 60 percent of Ethiopians are Christian and 30 percent Muslim. (Reuters)