“The risks posed by violent religious radicalism in Ethiopia are not imaginary,” says Jon Abbink, senior researcher from the African studies center at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “But the documentary is probably over-doing it; the susceptibility of Muslims in Ethiopia to Al Qaeda-like radicalization is slim,” he says, adding that the film would appear to “delegitimize” peaceful political disagreements by Muslims and set up the possibility of a “backlash.”

Ethiopia is considered a stronghold of Sufism, an approach to the practice of Islam sharply at odds with that of Al Qaeda and aligned groups. The area has been heralded for centuries for the largely peaceful co-existence of its varied religious communities — though concerns are rising over extremism. Twice in recent years the Army has invaded Somalia to pursue and combat Islamist militants and salafis whose influence is said to be increasing on the Ethiopian side of the border.

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