Press Release Courtesy Network of Ethiopian Muslims (http://ethiopianmuslims.net)
[Negashi OJ] – Mekelle University has dismissed three of its Muslim students. The three were found guilty of possessing and reading of the Holy Quran. Effort by the university Muslim community to negotiate with the authorities and persuade them to recall the unjust measure has so far failed.
On Monday. Megabit 22, student Muhammad Yesuf, Ibrahim Hussien and Ismael Tadesse left their room after Subh (Morning) prayer and went to a room that they use for studying. One of them had a phone from where he was listening to a prerecorded Quran using his ear phone. The other had an Amharic Translation of the Quran. These two had also pocket size original Quran in Arabic in their pocket. The third has a medium sized Quran and a tape recorder. He was reading silently.
The president of the university apparently tipped by a cleaning lady who saw the three entering the room with their visible Muslim appearance, came to the room and found the three possessing these â€œillegalâ€ materials thus performing an â€œIllegalâ€ act. He demanded for their ID card and Meal Card. He then took the Quran and tape recorder with him. The three followed him up to his office and begged for his compassion. Nevertheless the man was unbending to the students. He passed his outright decision to dismiss them and sent order to the Dean of Students to implement the decision. The next day, as the students went to the restaurant for breakfast, they read their dismissal from the notice board.
It is to be recalled that Mekelle University was the first to deny Muslim students space to offer their prayers. From their history of intolerance to Muslim students and their stern position not to give any space for Muslim students to practice their religion, the top leadership of the university is believed to be an indirect architect of the directive the Ministry of Education prepared and oblige Muslim students to choose from their study and religion.