The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, was put in an uncomfortable situation by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali when he asked him to support the establishment of an Islamic institute in Addis Ababa.
Abiy Ahmed recalled this situation during an open meeting of the Ethiopian community held by Badr Ethiopia Organization in the city of Virginia, US, according to an Ethiopian activist who attended the meeting and reported the statement to Al-Khaleej Online.
Speaking of the conversation he had with bin Zayed, Abiy said, “I asked him about the construction of an Islamic institute, and I asked him: ‘What would you (as Emiratis) help us with? And he answered, “We will support you in everything, and we will teach you.”
However, Abiy Ahmed stopped him and answered by saying: “We do not need you to teach us Islam. You have lost it. We want you to teach us the Arabic language quickly so that we can understand true Islam and then get you back on track.”
He added, “I told him that if we got all the population of the Gulf countries together, we would find out that they are much fewer than the Muslim population in Ethiopia, he asked me ‘why are you talking in numbers?’ and I replied ‘because Islam considers the crowd as a source of strength’.”
The speech was highlighted by the AR-Ethiopia account on Twitter.
This is not the first Ethiopian insult to Abu Dhabi. In mid-July, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry denied UAE’s claims about playing the role of a mediator with Eritrea regarding its 20-year-long conflict.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Meles Alem, stressed that the Asmara agreement has been signed recently with Eritrea is in the interests of both countries and occurred without the mediation of any third party.
The clarification of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs came as a response to UAE media news outlets which gave credit to the UAE and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the completion of the reconciliation.
The UAE has faced renewed African objections against its tendencies in the continent. While Abu Dhabi sought to mobilise the countries of the world to boycott Qatar during its siege in June 2017, many countries rejected these pressures and attempts, including Ethiopia, which confirmed support for Kuwait’s efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis.