Untold Ethiopia Documentary

Untold Ethiopia Documentary

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Language: English

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Number of phrases: 932

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[Music] to [Music] [Music] in the name of allah the manifestant the merciful i praise allah subhanahu wa'ta'ala i send peace and blessings to all of the prophets to moses to jesus
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and especially to our beloved prophet muhammad his companions forever i begin with the greeting words of the righteous assalamualaikum the land of abyssinia the land of great kings the land of mystery spirituality the land of ancient history as a young african-american with west indian parentage i always wondered about ethiopia this land for my family
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and for those african-americans living in the west always had a type of magic to it a type of mystery it was a land where african people were proud where early civilization developed some say that even the first man walked this land but in my quest i realized that ethiopia was more than just a land of history it was a land of high spirituality
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it is said that lost ark of the covenant lies in this land it is also said that great christian rulers and kings walk this land and maintain the teachings of jesus peace be upon him as a muslim i came to understand that the prophet muhammad peace be upon him when living in mecca and when he found that he was persecuted and his followers needed help he told them if you go out to the land of habasha to abyssinia there you will find a king
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oppresses nobody it is a land of truth how did he know that it was a land of truth why did he send his followers into africa before he sent them to palestine before he sent them to persia even to yemen why join me on our search for the history of this beautiful land and also for the true story of najashi the great nagis of aksum and also
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light upon what happened to the sahaba to their families in this historic mystical land join me in this journey of a lifetime as i leave you in peace my journey starts in the relatively young city of addis ababa the capital of ethiopia it's founded in 1887 by the emperor menelik and has grown to a population of just over 3 million
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to my astonishment i found out that a large percentage of the people of addis ababa are muslim in fact 40 of ethiopia is muslim it may seem hard to imagine that in a country that has recently turned away from communism islam has never ceased to grow in fact islam is growing at an unprecedented rate [Music]
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hello minarets of mosques dominate the old town and the call to prayer reverberates around the city [Music] is a city on the move the hustle and bustle of daily life continues unabated down every street and around every corner muslims go about their chores whether it's to the mosque or shopping it became quite apparent that islam is here to stay
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[Music] [Music] [Music] foreign because i came on a quest to find the role of islam in ethiopia today i knew that one of the best places to con muslims was at the mosque and so i set off to the biggest mosque in addis ababa known as masjid al-imam hassan ibn abi talib here i met an elder of the city sheikh kamil a sharif a son of one of addis ababa's most beloved and well known shoyuk
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as sheikh campbell's name also indicates a sharif he is a noble one a descendant of the prophet muhammad peace be upon him [Applause] [Music] [Music] [Music] i myself belong to the alibaba alain salam we a little bit our great grandfathers
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has came to ethiopia from arab venezuela passing the red cross the red sea to the somali border and they penetrate it to deep into harare the cause of their immigrating to hara or coming to harass to africa is to call for islam or gate islam
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and teach the people of that area islamic principle it is known and worth mentioning that they are late in all the way from their grandfather muhammad and until the last day they are basically devoted for islam wherever they go they preach for islam work for islam they give guidance and proper teaching
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to all muslims and approach non-muslims also to accept islam [Music] i found out that sheikh campbell's family comes from the legendary city of hara situated in the east of ethiopia he also told me that hara was one of the main centers of islamic learning for over 800 years i had to find out more of this ancient city and arranged with sheikh campbell to
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journey there before my journey i had the privilege to meet with some of the elders of hara they wished a special trust in the holiday national league in order to preserve the history and culture of the city amazingly the language we all felt comfortable speaking was arabic i was amazed just listening to these men talk about hara more and more i wanted to get to the city and see it for myself
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what got my interest going even more were the books that were brought along for me to go through here in front of my eyes were pieces of history coming alive the holiday trust actively involved in making sure that no one forgets about haram on the way to hara we came across a very old mosque on the trade routes where camels once traveled the caretaker explained that many caravans passed through on their way to selling their wares in the interior the simple architecture
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of the mosque reminded me of similar structures i had seen in my travels through north africa and arabia as i entered i felt a profound sense of hundreds of years of worship drifting down on me i realized that this mosque stands in testimony to the believers of islam
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we continued onwards to the city of hara and arrived there just after dark i had to wait one more night to see why the city was so dairy amongst muslims early the next morning i traveled to the outskirts of the city to get a better view the search for islam in ethiopia has led me to the great walled city of hara this ancient town set in southeastern ethiopia was once the most important center in the northeastern
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side of the continent of africa it is set in the classical islamic lines and when we look at the city in the background we see the jamia or the main mosque in the center and the town surrounds the hill and on the bottom is a great wall which extends for almost a square kilometer around the town of hara it is a town of mystery it is a town of great scholarship it once was the link between the african continent and arabia and india the people of hara
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were known for minting their own coins hundreds of years ago they were also known for great scholars for uh spiritual people for crafts for book and it is said that the books of hara were even being read in ottoman turkey and in other parts of the muslim world and so we have reached one of the most important parts of our journey the great city of hara let us see what we can find
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for hundreds of years this city was closed to foreigners as an exclusive islamic center non-muslims were not permitted hara i was dumbfounded when i learned that there are 82 mosques in this small city imagine 82 mosques that take care of the needs of those situated in the immediate vicinity this is an example of the many masjids in the wild city of hara it is said that
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there are over 82 masjids in a 48 hectare space it is the most densely populated area in terms of masjids per square meter and this is one of the mysteries of hara this is martial arabi the arab mosque which was built around 1875 by the egyptians and it is one of the local centers for the people who are living in this particular section in hara and you'll find this all over the city that about 40 families and an imam are basically
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situated around the mosque and this gives us the flavor all around the city these are of course smaller in size they comprise about 40 persons as you know 40 persons it will able you also to have the friday prayer but the main purpose to make it 40 percent not only to make friday prior prayer but the imam of we call him nazim the imam of that mosque
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is responsible for 40 households the these mosques are situated in such a way to be the center for these 40 families hara was once surrounded by a great stone wall to keep out wild animals and the enemy this gave rise to hara being known as the walled city inside its walls scholars from all over the muslim world were teaching and producing detailed works on islam many of them were also actively involved
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in suchness to allah by building on their strong spiritual beliefs this gate that we find ourselves at now is called bedribati or babel hakim and it is one of the best preserved gates in the wall city of hara it has a very interesting history it is said by the local historians that over 400 of the fukaha the jurors of islam lived within the area near this gate they eventually lives for the preservation of the city
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and i have left a beautiful heritage and a deep tradition and so again the gates open up the mysteries of the city there are five within hara and let us see if we can find even more the gates purpose is they made it of of course five purposely to represent five times per year they had one also gate which is closed and now opened they used to called a closed door they only opened it when
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there is war from the western uh west east part these guests they are very important because they want to control all enemies coming from any direction because in the past they don't know where the enemy comes from they can check them and control them we are blessed today to be uh in front of one of the important gates of the city of hara it is baba and this is the gate of victory it is one of the gates where the
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protection of the city was maintained and that is one of the blessings of the city of hara where only 220 years ago non-muslims actually entered the city it is a city of peace a city of the scholars and a city of high spirituality so we are blessed today to be here with the ashraf of the city uh the nobles who are descendants of the prophet muhammad peace be upon him al-hajj kamil sharif and the others have come today along with the citizens and we are blessed to be here
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it is the gate of victory and uh we always pray that this city will again rise hara is now becoming a very important city and it is rising back again uh into importance in africa and also in the muslim world to say hadar is interesting would be an understatement as i strolled around the old town i was fascinated by the life it still breathed it almost felt like i was taking a step back in time traders were displaying their wares all
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over and i could just imagine how it was like hundreds of years ago this is a typical marketplace in hara for centuries people have gathered together bringing their wares from the countryside into the town hara is one of the most important centers for civilization within ethiopia and the people brought their goods inside and traded and came together from all different parts of eastern ethiopia and northern ethiopia and so we see it here typical marketplace again this could be in
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pakistan it could be in egypt it could be in morocco it gives you that flavor of life and activity and the bringing together of the old and the news [Music] [Music]
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these baskets are now being made by our sisters it takes one month of weaving to produce on one of these baskets and you see the amount of patience that it takes and the skill and this is a tradition which has been passed on for hundreds of years in hara if really if you look at the world this is a thousands of year old tradition because you'll find similar type of weaving done in ancient india and other parts of africa in china in mint europe and many parts of the world but here in east africa there is a special form of this weaving and the design
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is unique to hara and to eastern [Music] um [Music] this is uh the weaving of the culture of hada and you see again the designs and the colors of africa and the arab world and these baskets have many purposes they are being served serving food also protecting food
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this basket is used as a decoration in our houses right and other baskets can be used for functional first purpose as well as a decoration in the house but is this one used on a special occasion it's not used on a special occasion but whenever a young harry woman marries a man and when she go to her new house right she has to have six
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different types of basketries yeah and this is one of classics like many parts of the islamic world the shops of hara are a reflection of islamic culture what is special about the culture here is it combines arab culture with african culture with the islamic culture so you see in the famous kufi it is normally worn at the time of the wedding for the men so this kofia is special it is worn at the time of the weddings and it has the special
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design as you see on the top of the cap it's similar to many of the masjids and designs within the islamic world and what makes it special are the colors the colors are african ethiopian colors the green the red and the gold and the black and also you see the design so with the beautiful designs the blending together of the colors you then come out with a product which is unique and that is part of hara being a unique place a crossroads
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between arab culture and african culture and also a base of islam this cap is a reflection of the culture of this mysterious beautiful city these are the narrow streets of hara anywhere in the muslim world you can find a village or a city with a similar flavor
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and it is set up in such a way to protect the people who are living inside of the houses the streets are very narrow and protective and when you go inside of the door then you'll find that it opens up to a courtyard and the family then is protected from the outside world and so hara has followed in the arabic african uh islamic tradition in setting up its its cities uh in the same way and uh it's it's a very beautiful town the children are here the families are here there's the smell of spices and um
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that is something you find in zanzibar and in fez and marrakesh and lahore and all over the muslim world this narrow alley is one of the tightest in the city of hara and it has a special history to it is called the reconciliation street and that is because it is so narrow that if people are fighting against each other or disagree they have to and they have to reconcile their differences and so it is a special place that has brought people together and the whole spirit is you know we're
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tight we're a family so we need to really uh come clear with all of the arguments and differences that we have we need streets like this all over the world [Applause] [Music] [Music] um [Music] yes [Music]
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[Applause] [Music] lord hara was also renowned for its books mostly dealing with islam and written at the height of the city's popularity as a muslim stronghold one man who has taken it upon himself to care and preserve many of the old texts ali i collect a hurry and history heritage like this in emphasis it was forbidden in the time of highest lasting
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in the time of military dirk military regime but at the following in the fall of the military regime we get some freedom so that i began to connect with harare songs harry coins books written documents and heritage about the surrounding people sharif abdullah ali represents a whole
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generation of people who have dedicated themselves to the preservation you know of the history of the african continent and what he has shown us is that by his own personal initiative he has been able to collect over 500 copies of arabic documents from the past he won the confidence of the people he was able to bring out the the culture of hara that had been hidden for years under the ground and uh right now
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he estimates that there's about 20 000 handwritten copies of books throughout hara and its vicinity and it is important that he is helped that he has assisted and that we actually culture a whole generation of sharif abdullah ali who have the technical skill the love and the consistency to be able to bring forward this tradition and to preserve it for the modern world then you get the background which has 122.
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the streets and alleyways of hara throw up all kinds of surprises as i rounded a corner i stumbled on the graveside of one of the most prominent female saints [Music] a [Music] an important day in the life of any muslim so too in hada although there are 82 mosque in the city
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this mosque known as the jumma mosque is where the faithful gather for friday prayers throughout my stay in hara i was often reminded not to be late for friday prayers because it was unique now i've been to jumaa in many cities all over the world but what awaited me in this far-off corner of ethiopia was simply astounding every friday after the early morning prayer of fajr people gather in the mosque to recite
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the quran this practice dates back hundreds of years and the recital leaves one spiritually fulfilled and prepared for the prayers [Music] yes [Music]
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[Music] [Laughter] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] foreign [Music] allah [Music] foreign i [Music] [Music]
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foreign filled with admiration and pride as to how these muslims managed to keep islam alive and thriving jumaa and hara was definitely one of the highlights of my state and i felt an even greater respect for this ancient city of islam [Music] [Music] and as is customary all over the islamic world a delicious holiday lunch was prepared
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after the friday press as a government more than one millennium that's almost 1100 and something years it was established as a government you know at the turn of elinia of course the harvest previously they were not here they are semantic stock they are part of khala people
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saw the government when it started by amir hababa and till the middle of july 72 rulers were or leaders called them we call them in our way amir's been ruled till the end of 19th century my stay in hara had to come to an end and i was looking forward to continue on my way through ethiopia
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next stop was nagash the city of the axomite christian king ashama he was the person who received and gave protection to the companions of the prophet muhammad peace be upon him first hijrah the drive was long and tiring the city itself is high up in the mountains [Music]
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my journey has been both insightful and fascinating i've traveled from addis to harar and up into the north to the tigray province and finally to the village of nagash where sits dedicated to najashi it is also a place of the burial ground of the companions of the prophet muhammad peace be upon him and the king himself so finally we have reached the final point the beginning of islam
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in africa [Music] my [Music] [Music] or a migration but what is important for us is that if we look at it islamically it refers to movement and it is a
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migration a strategic migration made from one area to another the significance of the hijra in the case of the prophet muhammad saw sallam number one is that the hijrah represents the movement of the muslims from out of a state of insecurity to a state of security we know that in the meccan period the prophet peace and blessings be upon him came to quraish and came to the people of arabia with the message of tawheed he found great opposition and by the fourth year
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his followers were being killed and tortured to the extent where they were not able to actually defend themselves and so the prophet peace be upon him then um saw the hijrah as a means of releasing them from insecurity to a place of security and protection and freedom
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the prophet muhammad peace be upon him when he sent his followers to abyssinia he sent with them a message and this message or this letter to anna jasi the nagis the emperor the ruler of of ethiopia was in a form that we don't find in any other letter that he ever wrote because a brotherly letter it was a diplomatic letter so this letter was not only seeking sanctuary for his followers it was actually a very strategic political letter that was connecting
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the muslims in the arabian peninsula to the believers in one god in ethiopia which was a world power at the time [Music]
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foreign [Music] the quraysh being the rulers of mecca and being very familiar with uh abyssinia when they found out that the migrants had gone to ethiopia they were terrified and they recognized that that movement could be a serious change in relationships between the arabian
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peninsula and between the people in ethiopia it could be a world power that could be backing the prophet muhammad peace be upon him so they sent abdullah who later became a very famous muslim they sent the two of them who were known for their wisdom and their cunning and their diplomacy they sent them to the the najashi and basically they accused the muslims of breaking their religion
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of disrespecting christianity then the jashi then called for the muslims to come out and he questioned them uh is it true what these people say and we also know that that the two diplomats from the quraish they gave gifts to the courtiers and so they set everything up but when the king asked the question to the muslims jaffa ibn abi responded in a very beautiful way explaining and showing how the muslims were in a state of ignorance
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they didn't respect themselves they ate uh rotten meat they drank uh uh intoxicants they slaughtered the weak they committed adultery and then he read from surat or maryam at that point the najashi cried and all the people in his court cried and the jed and the jashis by god this revelation comes from the same candle the light comes from the same candle that the bible comes from he said i will never let them go
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you are free to live in our lands we find from the traditions that when the najashi may allah be pleased with him got the message from the prophet saws that he actually reflected upon this and he secretly accepted islam and he was in correspondence with the prophet peace be upon him finally the prophet sallam when hearing that the najashi had died he
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he made a janazah prayer for the one who was absent knowing that there was nobody there wasn't anybody in ethiopia who would make it for him at the time he had accepted islam secretly the muslims lined up and they made janazah it was the first time in islamic history that this was done and it is only done for and so based on this correspondence based on what happened with najashi what we know he was a strong firm believer before his death and the prophet peace be upon him confirmed this
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for all of the muslims and this is agreed upon by the ijmah of the historians and the fukoha that he had accepted islam and so islam had now entered this country at the hands of a leading personality i had come to ethiopia in search of the story of islam after leave i knew that my wish had been fulfilled islam is becoming the heartbeat once again
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of this ancient land of abyssinia [Music] i was surprised to find that muslims in ethiopia have had a very powerful contribution to the history not only of the horn of africa and ethiopia but really to the muslim world and the rest of the world and this is part of the well-kept secret of what has happened in this part of the african continent and we found that in the highlands of
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ethiopia that muslims make up somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of the population and the city of hara not only was a great link for the muslim world but it was an important city for ethiopia itself it linked ancient aksum which was the great ancient empire of ethiopia with the modern world so for instance the coins of hara which were first struck in the walled city of
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of hada these coins actually link the the axomite coins with the modern day coins used in ethiopia so muslims have made a great contribution to this land and in the building of adisa baba we have come to understand that it was harari masons and addisons that actually helped to develop the city of addis ababa so present-day ethiopia has a great legacy has a great debt in relationship to the muslims
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and so therefore it's important now with ethiopia coming out into the world and the different people peoples within ethiopia coming out that we are able to bring forward the muslim contribution and to show that islam did not come into ethiopia as a conqueror but muslims came as refugees the prophet muhammad called ethiopia a land of truth he sent his followers there before he sent them to medina in the north before they went to jerusalem before
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they went to persia before they went to malaysia they entered the african continent and so this is very significant in our understanding of africa and our understanding of the relationship between muslims and christians that to a great extent there was cooperation between the two groups and so islam in ethiopia represents a very beautiful chapter if we're able to go through the veils and really see the contributions made by the people in ethiopia
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i also believe that in the future muslims will make a great contribution to ethiopia because that knowledge of arabic is still alive that knowledge within the books of hara is still with them and there are great peace making lessons within the teachings of the scholars of hara there are also great lessons of how to deal with science in a moral way to blend the ancient with the modern how to bring out the best in
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humanity in technology and that is something that is missing in the world today and i believe that muslims in ethiopia and in hara and nagash and aksum in particular can make a great contribution not only to africa but to the world no more do i look at africa as the dark continent what i found here has opened eyes to a whole new world of possibility that africa offers president tabo and becky of south africa speaks of the 21st century as the time
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of the african renaissance i say let's look into the history of this majestic continent to kick-start the process for me the journey is only beginning and i hope to explore many more untold stories of islam and [Music] africa [Music] [Music] [Music]
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ah [Music] [Music] eh you

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