The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution establishes Qadi (Muslim judges trained in the Islamic legal tradition) courts in such places as the chief justice determines. The Qadi courts sit in each of the country’s seven regions and apply traditional Islamic law. Their jurisdiction applies only to marriage, divorce, and inheritance questions for Muslims. In 2007 the government established a five-member Qadi appeals panel to deal with appeals against decisions of the Qadi courts and district tribunals that relate to Islamic law.
The Supreme Islamic Council is an independent body that advises the government on religious issues. Although the government does not have representation on the council, it provided the council with substantial funding. The minister of religious affairs maintains a formal relationship with the council.
The government does not require religious groups to register. Faith-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) must meet the same registration and licensing requirements as other NGOs.
The government permits religious instruction in schools. Both public and private schools throughout the country provide Biblical and Qur’anic studies without government restriction or interference. The government funds religious instruction in public schools, but this instruction is not mandatory.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Maulid al-Nabi (the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Assumption Day, Koriteh (Eid al-Fitr), Tobaski (Eid al-Adha), Yaomul Ashura (the Islamic New Year), and Christmas.