The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution provides for the right of individuals to choose, change, and practice the religion of their choice. Protection of religious freedom has not been tested through legal or judicial processes. In general, traditional resolution is preferred to the courts.
The Secretariat of Religious Affairs aims to promote better relations among religious denominations and ameliorate interethnic tensions. The secretary general of religious affairs appoints six national directors to lead the offices of Christian Affairs, Islamic Affairs, Pilgrimages, Places of Worship, Economic Affairs and the Endowment, and General Inspector.
The government coordinates with the Interreligious Council, which is composed of members from Anglican, Catholic, and Protestant churches, and the Secretariat of Religious Affairs.
Prior to being registered by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Political Affairs, all religious organizations must be approved by the Secretariat of Religious Affairs. During the year, the government registered all groups that submitted applications. The small Baha’i community practiced its religious beliefs openly and freely, although it did not request official recognition.
The government prohibits ownership of private radio and television stations by religious groups or political parties, but religious and political broadcasting is permitted on privately owned commercial radio. The government allocates broadcast time during the week for both Islamic and Christian programming on state-owned national television, including Sunday mass, Islamic religious instruction, and Friday prayers from the central mosque.
Islamic schools are prevalent throughout the country and are considered the traditional forum for religious education. Islamic schools are particularly strong in the Fouta Djalon region.
There are several madrassahs (schools), which differ from Islamic schools, across the country. These schools are usually associated with a mosque, and some are supported with funds from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf States. The madrassahs are not formally linked with the public school system and are not recognized by the government because they teach only Arabic and Islam. At year’s end, the Ministry of Education continued its efforts to integrate the madrassahs into the government financed “Franco-Arab” system, which offers religious instruction in addition to a curriculum comparable to the public schools.
The imams and administrative staff of the principal mosque in Conakry are government employees.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Easter Monday, Assumption Day, Eid al-Fitr, Tabaski, and Christmas.