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Ethiopian Cleric’s Lesson on Tolerance

An Ethiopian Orthodox priest is raising funds to build a church and a mosque in a town in the East Hararge area of Oromia region. Lange town’s church and mosque have fallen into disrepair and the local congregations lack the funds to refurbish them. Abba Aklilemariyam Komos told the BBC Afaan Oromoo that building a church alone and ignoring the poor state of the mosque would “disappoint God”. His idea to raise funds started in 2015 during a visit to Lange, when he noticed the poor condition of the church. He soon expanded the plan to include building a new mosque. “If I only raise funds for the construction of my church while my Muslim brothers’ mosque is in the same situation, I shall disappoint God. Our faith is different, but not our love,” he explained. He reached out to leaders of The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council to vouch for him in mosques across the capital, Addis Ababa. “I started collecting the money in October 2018 first going to the Nur mosque in Addis Ababa. In less than two months we collected more than 200,000 Ethiopian birr [$6,200],” he said.