December 18, 2008

New census result splits Ethiopian bloggers view

Dear Dejeselamayewan/ ውድ ደጀ ሰላማውያን,
As you well know, the 2007 census is still heading the news list. Ethiopians in diaspora are reacting passionately to the debate, one of which is our own blog DejeSelam, which is refered by the following website as "Blogger Deje Selam who is trying to fill the absence of ETOC believer's voice on the web ". The rest is history. Please read this article to have a general view of what is going on the cyberwar, so to say.

New census result splits Ethiopian bloggers view
Ethiocross// December 17, 2008// By Mesfin T.

"Driven by the huge growth seen in the Protestant faith, followers of the Christian faith account for 62.8%, followed by Muslims at 33.9%. Protestants took off from 10.2% to 18.6%, the census found. Among Christians, Orthodox still holds the majority with 43.5% followed by Protestants and 0.7% of Catholics."Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA)
"I see in the House quite a few women wearing a headscarf; like myself this was not the case in pervious times. So when we are now exercising our rights more freely, it could seem that there is a high population presence. The growth is still there but probably not as perceived," confident Central Statical Agency Chief Samiya Zekaria told the MPs." Capital Newspaper
Ethiocross:- In the wake of a new Ethiopia census 2007 made public bloggers in Diaspora camp have written passionately about the number of Christians (Orthodox, protestant and Catholic) and Muslims in the country.

According to the released census report the number of Christians (Orthodox, protestant and Catholic) has increased by 1.2 % from 32.7 million in 1995 to 46.4 million this year. The rising number of Protestants in the country was said to have contributed to the high number of Christians in the country, which group has increased by 8.4% from 5.4 million in 1995 to over 14 million now.



Blogger Arefe of Addis Journal who seems much concerned about the declining number of Ethiopian Orthodox church (ETOC) followers wrote "One thing which may be a cause for concern in the new census is its indication of decrease in the number of Orthodox Christians, traditionally the dominant church in Ethiopia." Then, continued to ask a very critical question such as "Is the Orthodox Church losing ground? What does this mean? Why is the Orthodox Church finding it hard to cope with its competitors, the evangelicals and the radical Islam? What implications does it have for the future? What should be done to reverse the trend?" To point out a way forward to ETOC current challenges Blogger Arefe pulled a historian Professor Medhane Tadesse essay that was written back in 2003.

Blogger Deje Selam who is trying to fill the absence of ETOC believer's voice on the web has been a very critic of vocal Ethiopian Muslims in recent years. To Deje Selam a vocal Muslims Diaspora who have led a long propaganda and claim that Muslims outnumber Christians in Ethiopia if not much equally are proven wrong. He declare his victory by writing "Ethiopian Census Made Public, Christians are Majority".

In contrast, a reaction from Ethiopian Muslim bloggers was a mixture of anger, frustration and rejection. One of the leading vocal Muslim blogger Negashi - OJ called a new census report that puts Ethiopian Muslims number at 33.9 % way less than 62 % Christians "Ethiopia: "Millennium's Biggest Lie!".

Blogger Negashi- OJ frustration was expressed by his call for rejection of the new census result that puts Ethiopian Christians at 62 %. The blogger uses a very same old argument some vocal Diaspora Muslims pushing forward in recent years. His concludes his argument by saying "Ethiopian Muslims has long rejected the traditionally biased figure and demanded for a fair and unbiased counting process, transparency and full involvement in the verification process of the latest census. One of the demands lodged by a delegation of Ethiopian Muslim Diaspora was this very issue. None of these demands were addressed and Ethiopian Muslims have no choice but to reject this latest result as one in a series of conspiracies designed to deny their democratic and religious rights."

Ethiopia for Equity and Justice (EEJ) an Ethiopian Muslim Blogger who constantly express anti -Christian (Evangelicals) rhetoric wrote a three part analysis that question the credibility of new census under the title "Ethiopia, Credibility Questions Raised against the Census Report". EEJ argue the number has been manipulated by the government in support of Christians. Blogger Deje selam who is associated with ETOC replay to blogger EEJ by asking the very same question" Is Muslims number manipulated?" and gave his defense argument.

The story that appear in "Capital" which is one of the leading Ethiopian English news paper about the debate in Ethiopia parliament before the census report gets approved reveal some light between the perception of Muslims and the fact on the ground. The news paper reported that "While Mohammed Ali of UDJ cites "reports" that estimated the Muslim community to represent more than 45% of the nation, the MPs affiliated with the EPRDF cited piecemeal evidence such as the number of Muslims and Christians who attend various religious gatherings in Meskal Square.

"For Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA) Chief Samiya Zekaria ( Who is a Muslim) whose census put Christians at an overwhelming 62% majority, it is all about the numbers not the perceptions.

"I see in the House quite a few women wearing a headscarf; like myself this was not the case in pervious times. So when we are now exercising our rights more freely, it could seem that there is a high population presence. The growth is still there but probably not as perceived," confident Samiya told the MPs.

Finally while writing this blog I read the very expected last reaction from vocal Muslims camp which says "Ethiopian: Census Data Report Was Rejected by Muslims after Conference".

At list for now all the bloggers who seems have a clash of view on the current census report agree on one thing, which is the surge of Evangelicals in the country. AFP who broke the news wrote "The Christian population rose to more than 46 million, or 62 percent of the population, up from 32.7 million in 1994.....Membership of Protestant churches as a whole has increased from 5.4 million to 13.7 million."

Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.



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