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Sunday, 07 August 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement



Mozambique has a population of 27.1 million people. Twenty four percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 22 percent is Protestant, and 20 percent is Muslim. The rest practice either indigenous religions or none at all. Christian groups represented in the country are Anglican, Baptist, Mormon, Congregational, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. There are also various Evangelical, Apostolic, and Pentecostal churches. Among the Muslims, the three principal Islamic organizations are the Mohhamedan Community, the Islamic Congress, and the Islamic Council. In the country Muslims generally do not make a distinction between Sunni and Shi’a. Rather, they identify themselves by their local religious leaders. There is also a difference in the practices of Muslims of African origins and Muslims of South Asian origins. There are also small Hindu, Jewish, and Baha’i groups present.

The Constitution states, "The People's Republic of Mozambique is a secular State in which there is absolute separation between the State and religious institutions. In the People's Republic of Mozambique the activities of religious institutions must conform to the State's laws."

Relations between the government and religious organizations have shown improvement since the ruling party officially abandoned Marxism and a new constitution providing for multiparty elections was adopted in 1989. A 1998 law requires religious organizations to register with the government, provide documentation of funding and provide a list of at least 500 members in good standing. Foreign missionaries are routinely granted visas. Religious institutions are allowed to own property and operate schools.

While the government does not officially prefer one religion over another, some Muslims have complained that they give preferential treatment towards Christians. For example, “National Family Day” is celebrated on December 25 and the some Muslims believe this is a covert way to make Christmas a national holiday. As a result, Eid al-Fitr (the ending of Ramadan) was declared a national holiday on which Muslim workers may take leave.

Many Muslims feel underrepresented in the government because Christian groups hold the majority of leadership positions. However, in 2010 a Muslim was named Prime Minister and another was elected to the 17-member State Council.

Religious groups may not organize political parties and political parties may not espouse religious principles. This law has been argued against by one Muslim party, which, while criticized by the government, has been allowed to function. Some issues concerning restitution of property to religious communities from whom it was confiscated when the Marxist government came to power in 1977 still remain unsolved.


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

Mozambique - New World Encyclopedia

Mozambique Country Profile- BBC News


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 19:29