A Misnomer European Travelers and Missionaries Description of Islam and the Muslims of Ethiopia
Endris Ali Haider
Ethiopians were described by travelers and missionaries from a large number of European countries at different times. Attracted by the great natural feature of the country or influenced by the writings and sayings of their own compatriots, many European travelers and missionaries had visited the country at different times and had left a descriptive work about the people, religion, social condition and various aspects of the Abyssinia. The very good nature of their existence in Ethiopia is that they have produced accounts on the various encounters of the country. Their accounts have been used by many researchers as firsthand information. The missionaries and travelers descriptive work, however, is characterized by some kinds of prejudices and stereotypes towards Islam and the Muslims of Ethiopia. In fact such prediction is expected when assessing the value of such kind of literatures. This is because they are not professional writers and hence their judgment inevitably could be influenced by either their own personal beliefs or any other factor. This article deals with the misnomer description of European travelers and missionaries towards Islam and the Muslims of Ethiopia from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Sources for this study were used by making a meticulous analysis of various travel accounts in corroboration with other secondary materials.
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