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Guinea
Monday, 06 June 2011 19:00

Religious Freedom Ranking:  

3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

 

Guinea

After decades of authoritarian rule, beginning with 26 years allied with the Soviet Union after gaining independence, Guinea held its first presidential elections in 2010. The country has substantial mineral exports, yet the majority of its citizens live in poverty. The Constitution enacted in May 2010 provides for religious freedom and the government generally respects this right in practice. The Constitution states that individuals have the right to choose, change, and practice the religion of their choosing. However, the enforcement and protection of these rights has not yet been tested in the courts.

Guinea has a population of 10 million people. Approximately 85 percent are Muslim, the majority Sunni with a Shi’a minority. Christians account for 10 percent of the population and 5 percent practice indigenous beliefs. Among the Christians there are Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and a few evangelical groups. Other groups present are Baha’is, Hindus, Buddhists, and several traditional Chinese religions that are practiced by foreign residents. While there has been some public criticism of the Shi'a minority, they have been generally free to practice and espouse their faith.

All newly operating religions are required to register with the government in order to receive tax benefits and subsidies. Unregistered groups face possible expulsion from the country, but there are no reports of any cases in which this has happened. The members of the Baha'i faith did not attempt to receive formal recognition, but they are free to practice their religion openly. All applicants for registration were accepted.

While the government seeks to insure religious freedom and maintain amicable relations between different faiths, there may in fact be some preference for Muslims within the government due to its predominant position in the country. For example, universities are closed on Friday so students can go to their mosque, but remain open on Sundays preventing Christian students from attending church. Also, the government gave assistance for some Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca but did not provide a similar service to Christians.

 

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

Guinea - New World Encyclopedia

Guinea Country Profile- BBC News

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 14:57