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Ethiopia has close historical ties with all three of the world’s major Abrahamic religions. In the 4th century, the Ethiopian empire was one of the first in the world to officially adopt Christianity as the state religion. As a result of the resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, in 451 the miaphysites,which included the vast majority of Christians in Egypt and Ethiopia, were accused of monophysitism and designated as heretics under the common name of Coptic Christianity (see Oriental Orthodoxy). While no longer distinguished as a state religion, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church remains the majority Christian denomination. There is also a substantial Muslim demographic, representing around a third of the population. 

According to the 2007 National Census, Christians make up 62.8% of the country’s population (43.5% Ethiopian Orthodox, 19.3% other denominations), Muslims 33.9%, practitioners of traditional faiths 2.6%, and other religions 0.6%. Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in Ethiopia.The ratio of the Christian to Muslim population has largely remained stable when compared to previous censuses conducted decades ago.Sunnis form the majority of Muslims with non-denominational Muslims being the second largest group of Muslims, and the Shiaand Ahmadiyyas are a minority. Sunnis are largely Shafi’is or Salafis, and there are also many Sufi Muslims there.The large Muslim population in the northern Afar region has resulted in a Muslim separatist movement called the “Islamic State of Afaria” seeking a sharia-compliant constitution.

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Islam in Ethiopia dates back to the founding of the religion in 622 when a group of Muslims were counseled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca. The disciples subsequently migrated to Abyssinia via modern-day Eritrea, which was at the time ruled by Ashama ibn-Abjar, a pious Christian emperor.Also, the largest single ethnic group of non-Arab Sahabah was that of the Ethiopians.

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