A condolence book is available at the Ethiopian embassy for UAE residents who wish to pay their respects to Christians from the African nation who were killed by ISIL militants in Libya this week.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the crime on Wednesdayafter more than 20 Ethiopian Christians who had been planning to go to Europe by boat from Libya were captured and murdered by ISIL.
“Isis [ISIL] cruelly slaughtered our citizens in Libya,” Abdulkadir Risku, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the UAE, said on Thursday. “Isis for us is one of the worst scenarios but we have been fighting terrorism for years. We had problems with Al Shabab in Somalia and we will continue to fight them but these people were innocent people going to Libya and they got caught and murdered cold-blooded in a very cruel and inhumane manner.”
He said the terrorist group did not represent any religion.
“No religion can allow this because the religion of God is peace,” he said. “Islam also means peace. No one is even allowed to kill an animal without reason, let alone a human being so they are even breaking the law of God. ”
Ethiopia is home to various religions.
“The majority is Islam and Christianity,” Mr Risku said. “These two religions live in harmony, there has been no conflict of religion or between the people of the two religions in the country for thousands of years. Ethiopia is a country which received Islam during the Prophet’s time and the first refugees of Islam were received by our King Al Najashi at the time. So between Islam and Christianity there was no problem, we support each other and live together.”
The condolence book will be available until Friday.
“We’ve had a lot of people coming to sign,” he said. “When I first heard the news, it was really very sad and heartbreaking. These are very young people who had no other intention than improving their lives somewhere else and they went all the way through the Sahara desert which, by itself, is a heavy duty.
“Their families were expecting them to reach their destination but for a mother to hear directly from social media or see on YouTube that her son was slaughtered like an animal is really awful. We don’t expect less from such messengers of evil like ISIL but it will not break our will to fight terrorism and we will continue to fight them.”
Church services will be held all week in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.
“I am speechless,” said Munesh Admasso, an Ethiopian who has been living in Abu Dhabi for five years. “It is an awful and cruel act, I feel extremely sad.”
She is one of more than 100,000 Ethiopians in the UAE.
“It is very sad, there is nothing to say,” said Zinash Kifli, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 14 years. “It is just so sad, people are trying to come out to say what they feel and you can see what is happening in the media. There are no words.”
Mr Risku said he was hopeful ISIL would be eradicated.
“If countries unite and work together, they can defeat them,” he said. “Isis has no place here, it is an evil group which will not be accepted by any population.”