Fikere Mengistu’s family owned the land for more than 90 years, but Christians said some 20 Muslims want to take over the farm, located in Deder town’s Kufanzik village, to build a mosque.
Harassment allegedly began when Mengistu built a house for his 93-year-old mother two years ago. Fearing that the village’s 38 Christians would use the house to gather for prayer, dozens of Muslims began to occupy his land and would remain for weeks at a time shouting “Allahu akhbar,” meaning “God is great”, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Following last year’s incident, Fikere Mengistu won legal battles to regain his land, but Muslims returned “and are attempting to take it by force”,
The authorities are letting it happen. In the past, he has faced threats from local police officers, has been forced to pay bribes, and has been imprisoned simply because he is a Christian.
Mengistu’s wife said she and her five children, aged mother-in-law, and 30 other Christians are praying on the property. “Please help me protect my land and secure my family and the fellow Christians.”