Delegate Name: Will McConnell
As a nation with two significant religions–Orthodox Christianity and Islam–sectarian conflicts are bound to occur. In day-to-day life, if you take two extreme opposites and put them in the same house, there will be issues. Now, widen your viewpoint and examine the countries holding many people of opposite extremes; it makes for bloodshed.
Ethiopia has been a country run without religious backing since 1974, but our people continue fighting for the prevalence of their respective religions. Our constitution underscores our support of religious freedom and the importance of non-discriminatory action towards one another. We are devastated by every headline we see within our borders of our people killing and attacking each other over a difference we have written is a choice one may only make for oneself. Stepping in and calming down these situations is paramount to our survival as a people.
Overall, Ethiopia lives in harmony with relative religious tolerance–the problem lies in the heart of the people. As a government, it is impossible to control each and every individual. We must, as many other countries with religious freedom can agree on, bring to the surface the importance of not only non-discriminatory action in areas such as business and education but also in areas such as personal lives. Ethiopia prides itself on being so tolerant for a country that, just in the last fifty years, broke away from a religiously backed government. We only hope the people grow to understand religious tolerance allows zero room for careless disputes nor violence.
An approach Ethiopia would like to take in recognition of the increased religious tension in the last three decades is to openly acknowledge that this tension most likely stems from the near-equal power balance between the Christians and the Muslims. For centuries, the religious groups lived in harmony because of the established dominance of Orthodox Christianity; with the loss of that dominance, everyone wanted to prove their religion was superior. Now, there is no one telling the Ethiopian people there is a specific religion in control, and it is left in the hands of extremists. The sooner we as a people can recognize this as a plausible issue, the sooner Ethiopia can work to further set in stone that no one religion should hold any more meaning than another. We hope to provide a more in-depth curriculum for school-age children in the history and cultural values of our two major religions and many of the more minor ones. Teaching this acceptance and history from a young age will lead to a generation of tolerance we hope will continue and grow from there.
Ethiopia believes that our sister nations in similar situations can learn from our ideas and break the mould of religious intolerance. A religiously tolerant nation should teach tolerance, not leave the people to their own devices, trying to establish dominance over the other.
We are excited to hear what other nations think of this idea and hope to see a successful move towards a more tolerant species.