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Wednesday, 25 November 2009 03:23
Religious Freedom Ranking
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

Finland has a population of 5.3 million people. Approximately 81 percent of the population belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Orthodox Church has about one percent of the population. There are seven Roman Catholic congregations with approximately 10,000 members, two Jewish congregations with around 1,500 members, and registered Pentecostal churches have an estimated 45,000 members, although the number is actually higher because many Pentecostal groups are not registered. There are around 40,000 Muslims in the country. The Muslim community is growing steadily due to immigration and high birth rate among Muslims. The majority of Muslims, about 75 percent, are Sunni and the rest are Shi’ite. The Evangelical Church has been losing members over the past 20 years and the Religious Freedom Act of 2003 has made separation even easier for people in the country.

The Finnish Constitution of 1919 grants every citizen the right to choose his religious community and to practice his faith publicly and privately. The president of the country appoints the archbishop and bishops of the Evangelical Church, and the church is organized and managed in accordance with the Church Act. Other religious communities are governed, and new religious communities may be established, in accordance with government acts for those purposes. Rights and duties of citizens do not depend upon the religious communities to which they belong. The Evangelical Church, along with other registered churches, receives state funding.

The 2010 US State Department Report on International Religious Freedom says that the Finnish government respects the rights of religious freedom in practice. There are no reports of governmental or societal abuses of religious freedom, and people are generally tolerant of all religions.


2010 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Finland

Finland - New World Encyclopedia

Finland Country Profile- BBC News
Last Updated on Monday, 14 November 2011 19:44