Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Muslims on Friday gathered at a central square in Addis Ababa on Friday evening for a massive evening iftar meal, praying for peace at a time of national upheaval.
The event, the second of its kind in the capital, came as Africa's second-most populous country is facing religious conflicts in some parts of the country and an eighteen month-old war in the northern Tigray region and persistent ethnic violence in several other hotspots.
Guests who came from various parts of the world attended the evening Iftar meal and in a response to the call made by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for the Eid-to-Eid Great Ethiopian Home Coming ceremony.
Addressing the gatherings, Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa, Jantirar Abay congratulated the attendees for the Grand Iftar and prayer event.
The Deputy Mayor appreciated the Muslim Community and Ethiopians at large for thwarting plot by some anti-peace elements who are working to promote religious strife in the country.
“The government is working to hold those involving in inflicting the conflict accountable,” Jantirar said. He further called on the Muslims to pray for peace and prosperity for Ethiopia.
“Christianity and Islamism have peacefully co-existed in Ethiopia for more than a century, he said, calling for unity and love. He finally expressed best wishes to Ethiopian Muslims for joyful Eid Festival.
The event, the second of its kind in the capital, came at a time Ethiopia is preparing to host a Grand Eid-to-Eid Great Ethiopian Home coming program.
The faithful have also attended the Maghrib Prayers at the Iftar program, according to organizations of the event.
"There are many things that worry us as a nation, so we wanted to unite and pray," 30-year-old Firdus Said told APA as the sunset over worshippers kneeling before plates piled with dates, bread and yoghurt cartons.
"We need the country to be peaceful and we want our domestic unity to be strengthened," she added.