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Monday, 06 June 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3.5 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement


GhanaGhana was the first African country to gain independence. The country suffered from instability and corruption until 1981 when Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings staged a coup and led the nation to economic stability and democracy. The 1992 Constitution established the nation as a democracy and Ghana is now a model for political and economic reform in Africa. Furthermore, in 2007 oil was discovered off shore, adding to the country’s prosperity.

There are approximately 24 million citizens in Ghana. Christians account for 69 percent of the population, 15.6 percent is Muslim, 8.5 percent practice indigenous beliefs, and 6.9 percent follow other religions including people that have no specific religious beliefs. Among the Christians, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, Mennonites, Evangelical Presbyterians, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church members, Evangelical Lutherans, F’edens, Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostals, Baptists, African Independent churches, and Quakers are present. There are also several Islamic traditions present including Orthodox Sunni, Ahmadi, the Tijani and Qadiriyya orders of Sufi, and Shi’a. Among the indigenous beliefs, most practice Afrikania. Other religious groups present are Baha’is, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Shintoists, Ninchiren Shoshu Buddhists, Sai Baba followers, Eckankar, the Divine Light Mission, Hare Krishna, Rastafarians and Unificationists.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion and the government generally respects this right. The government does require all public school students to attend religious assemblies. Some Muslims and members of traditional religions have objected to this. Furthermore, there have been some clashes between religious groups and the government has not always prosecuted those responsible. Foreign missionary groups have generally operated throughout the country with a minimum of formal restrictions.

There is no government body that regulates religious affairs, but religious groups are required to register with the government to receive formal recognition. While the government does not discriminate based on religion and it supports organizations that promote religious tolerance, there are reports that citizens in rural areas banished women accused of practicing witchcraft. There are also reports of human rights violations that have occurred at prayer camps, typically Pentecostal, where people, often with mental illnesses, were chained for weeks, physically assaulted, and denied food and water to remove evil spirits.

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Ghana
Ghana - New World Encyclopedia
Ghana Country Profile- BBC News

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 19:57