Contributions of Agaw Muslims

by Wondmu Workuw

Traditional homelands of Awi Muslims are primarily Segade, Dangula and Chera. Segade is located 7 km away from the north of Chagni Town. Dangula is a fertile area between Chagni and Qidameja towns. Chera is suited in 13 km distance on the west of Dangla Town. As urbanization has grown in the area, the Agaw-Awi Muslims have entirely immigrated to nearby towns, e.g. Chagni and Dangla in search of better opportunities. The same is true in other Agaw-Gojjam and Gondar areas, especially in East Gojjam.

Agaw Muslims and Beta Israel share some common historical oppressions. After the fall of Zagwe Dynasty, both communities had become landless. Subsequently, both Beta Israel and Agaw Muslims engaged in handicraft to sustain a living. Beta Israel involved in clay work, metal work and goldsmith, etc. The Agaw Muslims, on the other hand, devoted their achievement in weaving.

Thanks to rapid urbanization in the area after the World War II, the Agaw-Muslims have become successful entrepreneurs in the towns of Chagni and Dangla. Some of them became wealthiest in a short period of time. The successful entrepreneurs in Chagni include Atom Jibril and Atom Silliman. Others with moderate success involve Atom Hussein, Atom Ahmed Wodaje, Atom Indreas and others. Their contribution to the development of Chagni town was vital. Most of the families of these figures have eventually immigrated to Addis Ababa and nobody is investing in the town.

Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP must develop a strategy not only to encourage the Agaw Muslims to return home but also recruit them in party membership and leadership. Especially, the Agaw Muslims these live in Addis Ababa have more freedom to involve in the Agaw Democratic Party activities. AgDP leadership should consider Agaw Muslims as the backbones of the party and urban economic development. Besides that, the AgDP should enable to drive them towards feelings pride on their identity as the Amharic speaking Agaws.

Despite there is growing ideological fundamentalism among Wollo settlers, the party should be able to embrace them in all aspects. The objectives of the future Agaw State is to provide impartial justice to all in its territory regardless of their ethnicity and religion. The only we should not comprise is with these against our viable existence as the state.

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