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(869 words)

Author(s): Østebø, Terje
Bale (also spelt Bali, Baalee), today a division of Ethiopia’s Oromia National Regional State, is in the southeastern part of the country and consists of mountains, fertile highlands, and arid lowlands. It is dominated demographically by the Muslim Arsi Oromo (about 80 percent). Other major groups are the Shoa Oromo and the Amhara, both Christian peoples (totaling about 20 percent). Bale has been important in the history of Islam in Ethiopia. Its name first appears in Ethiopian records during the Zagwe period (c. 287–668/900–1270), and mention of a ruler…
Date: 2019-03-21


(1,605 words)

Author(s): Østebø, Terje
The Oromo (Oroomoo) are the largest ethnic group in the Horn of Africa. They have their own language, Afaan Oroomoo or Oroomiifaa, which belongs to the Cushitic language family. The majority of the Oromo are found in Ethiopia, where they constitute 34.5 percent (about 25 million) of the population, according to official Ethiopian statistics (2007). They inhabit the southeastern parts of the country (Borana, Gujji Arsi, Bale, Hararge), the central highlands around Addis Ababa (Shoa), and parts of …
Date: 2019-03-21

Aḥbāsh movement in Subsaharan Africa

(793 words)

Author(s): Østebø, Terje
Aḥbāsh (lit., Ethiopians) is a name for the Jamʿiyyat al-Mashāriʿ al-Khayriyya al-Islāmiyya (Association of Islamic Charitable Projects), headquartered in Beirut. The name reflects the image of Ethiopia as an ideal case of inter-religious peace and coexistence, which has been one of Aḥbāsh’s main ideological hallmarks. The connection between the organisation and Ethiopia was also embodied in Shaykh ʿAbdallāh b. Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Hararī (d. 2008), from Harar, in Ethiopia. He escaped Ethiopia b…
Date: 2019-03-21

Aḥmad Grāñ

(1,600 words)

Author(s): Ahmed, Hussein | revised by, ¨ | Østebø, Terje
Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm al-Ghāzī, nicknamed in Amharic Grāñ (“the left-handed”; fl. 912–50/1506–43) was imām of the sultanate of Adāl, in the Horn of Africa. Long perceived as the bête noire of the Christian state, church, and population of northern and central Ethiopia and as a traitor and villain par excellence in traditional Christian historiography and folklore, he was an ambitious soldier of fortune who, by dint of his extraordinary military skill, political manipulation, successful propaganda, and fortuitous …
Date: 2019-03-21