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Ethiopian Christian faces circumstances similar to Job’s comment (0)

May 31, 2012

JIJIGA, Ethiopia — His wife died shortly before he was falsely accused of desecrating the Quran, and by the time he was released from prison in eastern Ethiopia, his two children, ages 6 and 15, were missing. 

Tamirat Woldegorgis walked out of prison in Jijiga on April 25, limping, after spending nearly two years in custody, including months in a small cell with 50 other inmates that left one leg paralyzed. “I have been trying to locate my children, but all in vain,” Woldegorgis said. “My life is ruined — I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless and I am limping.” 

Muslims in his native Hagarmariam village may have taken his children to further discourage him from having any influence in the area, said Woldegorgis, now staying with a friend in an undisclosed town. A member of the Full Gospel Church, Woldegorgis was arrested in August 2010 after a Muslim co-worker in the clothes-making business the two operated out of a rented home discovered he had inscribed “Jesus is Lord” on some cloth, area Christians said. His business partner later accused him of writing “Jesus is Lord” in a copy of the Quran, although no evidence of that ever surfaced. Angry sheikhs from area mosques had Woldegorgis arrested for desecrating the Quran, though sources said Muslims also accused him of writing “Jesus is Lord” on a piece of wood, on a minibus and then on the wall of a house. 

Woldegorgis was sentenced to three years in prison on Nov. 18, 2010, and eventually was transferred to a prison in Jijiga. While he was in prison, authorities sometimes beat him in efforts to force him to recant his faith and become Muslim, but he refused, he said.  

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