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Religious Freedom Ranking:
2 out of 5 stars: Poor


Comoros gained independence from France in 1975. Weeks later their struggle with political instability began when President Ahmed Abdallah was overthrown in a coup assisted by French mercenary Colonel Bob Denard. Furthermore, in 1997 the islands of Anjouan and Moheli both declared independence from Comoros, but the islands were reunited in a 2001 Constitution that gave all three of the islands more autonomy.

Among the three islands there is a population of 748,000. About 99 percent of these are Sunni Muslim. Of the other religious groups, with membership numbering in the hundreds and consisting mostly of foreigners, there are Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholics and Protestants.

A new constitution promulgated in 2009 declares Comoros to be an Islamic state. Although the Constitution states that there is religious freedom, in practice, both the government and the population at large discriminate against the Christian minority. Laws prohibit proselytizing for any religion other than Islam, and the Constitution states that the citizens will draw governing rules and principles from Islamic tenets. Converts from Islam to other religious may be prosecuted; however this is very rare and there have been no recent reports of specific cases. While the government officially states that any religion is free to establish places of worship, train clergy, and assemble for peaceful religious activities, most non-Muslim citizens do not openly practice their faith for fear of being prosecuted for proselytizing.

Instruction in Islam is not mandatory in public schools, but some public middle schools teach Islamic tenets in conjunction with Arabic. They may not teach about any other religions. However, students are allowed to opt out of receiving Islamic instruction.  

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

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 20:45