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Religious Freedom Ranking:
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement


DjiboutiDjibouti gained independence from France in 1977. Despite two civil wars in the interim, the country enjoys a thriving economy because of its strategic location near the Red Sea, and its strong ties with France and the United States.

Islam is the state religion. Virtually the entire population of 800,000 is Sunni Muslim with a small Christian minority of about one percent. Among the Christians, there are Roman Catholics, Protestants, Copts, Ethiopian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are also small groups of Hindus and Baha’is. The government imposes no direct sanctions on those who choose to ignore Islamic teachings regarding such issues as diet or proper dress. Foreign clergy and missionaries may perform charitable works, but proselytizing, while not illegal, is discouraged.

Civil marriage is only available to non-Muslim citizens. Muslims are required to marry in religious ceremonies, and it is illegal for non-Muslims to marry Muslims unless they have converted. Religious discrimination does occur, but is not carried out by the government. For example, there are reports of school children throwing rocks at Christian churches, and there are reports of deceased Christians being buried according to Islamic tradition rather than in Christian graves, because relatives did not recognize their faith.

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Djibouti

Djibouti - New World Encyclopedia

Djibouti Country Profile- BBC News

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 19:49