Islamic Council confirms plunder of Al Nejashi mosque
The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Council confirmed the looting of service providing materials and tools during the attack of Al Nejashi Mosque, urging authorities for a speedy refurbishing of the world heritage site.
The council, in a press conference held on Wednesday where journalists were not allowed to ask questions, called on the government to coordinate with the public and provide the necessary attention and apply security precautions for historical sites against any possible threats.
While reading the press statement, Secretary of the council, Shiekh Kasim Mohammed stated that the council bemoans the damage on the Mosque, which is registered as one of the world heritage sites by the UNESCO.
According to Kasim, the mosque was hit by heavy artillery “During a law enforcement operation that started in November last year by the Ethiopian government against the outlawed Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).”
Tombs of historic Islamic figures were damaged and mosque service providing equipments were looted, the statement read, adding, “We condemn this heartbreaking and shameful action against our world heritage site.”
The council is working with Officials of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, and other stakeholders, to renovate the mosque and swiftly open it to the public.
Although further details are unavailable, an orthodox Christian church named Saint Emmanuel situated near the Al Nejashi Mosque, was also damaged during the armed conflict in Tigray.
It is believed that al-Nejashi was built by the first Muslims who migrated to Africa during the time of Prophet Muhammad after they fled persecution in Mecca and were given refuge in what was then the Kingdom of Aksum.
The Mosque was named after King Najashi, who was also known as Armah and the ruler of the Kingdom of Aksum from 614-631