Network of Eritreans for Constitutional Governance (NECG)

Eritrea: Perverting Freedom Of Religion To Suit Tyranny

26 December 2008
Berhane M Tekeste

In his perennial attempts to perpetuate his brutal tyrannical grip on Eritrea, Eritrea tyrant Afawarki has blatantly and unabashedly perverted the understanding and meaning of Freedom of Religion to suit tyranny by limiting it solely to belief in Isalam and Christianity.

Last year, Afawarki made no secret of his crusade to pervert the understanding and meaning of practically all societal norms (national constitution, rule of law, free press, political opposition, parliament, elections, and freedom of religion) to fit tyranny. He told it all frankly to Edmund Sanders [LA TIMES interview 2 Oct. 2007]. Not only that, Afawarki has also duped the people of Eritrea into believing his perverted version of societal norms by threatening them that every thing else were an evil act designed to break the unity and societal harmony among Eritreans by dividing them along religious lines and hence aimed at undoing Eritrea's national independence and sovereignty, to say the least.

A couple of days ago, on Christmas Eve, 24 Dec. 2008, Afawarki used the occasion not to convey x-Mas greetings but to remind the people of Eritrea about “Afawarki's Book on how to pervert societal norms to suit tyranny”. Quoting from “a chapter of Afawarki's Book that deals with Freedom of Religion”, Afawarki's mouthpiece and propaganda website,, posted an editorial warning Eritreans that there is no religion but christianity and islam, “for there has been no change in the original message of both faiths and indeed there will never be any change, for it will be a cardinal sin to attempt to introduce any change”, and calling upon them to stand up against "the conspiracy" of some thing that Afawarki terms 'politics-based' religion.

Last year, in response to Edmund Sander's question “Why restrict religions other than the four major faiths officially sanctioned by the government?”, Afawarki said “There is no restriction on religion. What's new about the Bible that you want to teach me? What is new about the Koran? I say there is nothing new...Religion is by default restricted because you have nothing new to teach me. ...I don't believe that's a restriction.” Wow! Since when is religion limited to only Islam and Christianity and strict adherence to the respective scriptures? What prevents people from worshiping whatever they want outside Islam or Christianity or not worshiping at all? Only the tyrannical mind of Afawarki knows the answers to my query!

What "creates religious division and mistrust, thereby weaken the people’s unity and harmony" is not religious diversity but lack of the rule of law, and laws that regulate, respect, and guarantee freedom of religion as is the indubitable case under your tyrannical grip on our country Eritrea, Mr. Self-styled-president-for-life, ruler Afawarki.

A religion is a religion, and a religion regardless of the number of people practicing it. There is no major or minor religion only religion for there is no reason whey any religion should be inferior/superior to any other religion?

Tyrant Afawarki, you can try all you want to pervert the understanding and meaning of Freedom of Religion to fit your tyrannical reign over our country Eritrea by limiting it to only Islam or Christianity. But no matter how often and how hard you try, freedom of religion is a fundamental human right to worship whatever within or outside the domains of Islam or Christianity or not at all.

All and every time Eritrea tyrant is challenged, he routinely hoodwinks the public into believing that he is fighting for the 'Eritrean people's right to self-determination' when he has indubitably and brazenly denied the people of Eritrea all and every bit of it including but not limited to the denial of Erirean people's right to determine by and for themselves

  • to be governed by a national constitution of their own choice and making

  • the head of their government

  • their parliamentary representatives

  • what and what not to worship and practice freely in public or private.

Tyrant Afawarki, limiting and restricting the inalienable right to freedom of religion of the people of Eritrea to only Islam or Christianity is not fighting for but fighting against the Eritrean people's right to self-determination? And what gives you the right to do so but the barrel of the gun, sir?

The matter of the separation of religion and state is a non-issue here for the state has never been established in the first place and we are not talking about democracy but a one-man rule with absolute power, bare-faced tyranny. So, one cannot hit tyrant afawarki with violating the fine line that exists between religion and state because such a line doesn't exist in Afawarki's Eritrea!

Thomas Jefferson is reported to have said “I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”. Let me second that and complement it by rephrasing it to read “I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind, soul, and body of man or woman”.

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