Ethiopia’s northern Tigray State is considering adopting a new law that would restrict Christian activities to within official church compounds, rendering illegal the activities of smaller churches that do not own their own buildings and gather in houses.
The law, if passed, would most affect Christians from outside the Ethiopian Orthodox Church because any church that wanted to have its own land would need to prove that it had at least 6,000 members—a greater number than the total population of non-Orthodox Christians in the state.
The law would also ban Christians from evangelizing outside of church compounds.
Local church leaders have raised their concerns about the law with the state government but have yet to receive a reply.
A similar law was recently ratified in neighboring Amhara State which, together with Tigray, is home to most members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and local church leaders fear other states will copy the move.