The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The constitution defines the country as a secular state and allows for religious practices that do not pose a threat to social stability and peace.
Religious identity is not designated on passports or national identity documents. For national identity documents, the law requires a photograph, which clearly shows the entire face, including hair and the two ears. Citizens may not wear religious headdress in official photos for identity documents if the headdress obstructs any part of the face.
The government requires registration of all public associations, including religious associations; however, registration confers no tax preference or other legal benefits, and failure to register is not penalized in practice. The registration process is routine and not burdensome. The government does not require indigenous religious groups to register.
The Malian High Council of Islam (HCIM) is an umbrella organization with representatives from all significant Muslim organizations in the country. It serves as the main liaison between the government and hundreds of these groups. The government frequently consults with the HCIM on social issues of national interest. Prior to making important decisions on potentially controversial national issues, the government also consults with the Committee of Wise Men, which include the Catholic archbishop and Protestant and Muslim leaders.
The minister of territorial administration and local collectivities may prohibit religious publications that “defame” another religion; however, there were no reports of such prohibitions during the year.
The government is secular. Public schools do not offer religious instruction. A number of private, parochial, and other religious institutions, both Muslim and Christian, exist, and parents face no legal restrictions to enrolling their children in these schools. Medersas, a Malian version of Qur’anic schools elsewhere known as madrassahs, are growing community-run private religious schools that provide schooling in basic subjects such as reading, writing, math science and history, in addition to Arabic and the Koran.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Mawloud, the Prophet’s Baptism, Easter Monday, Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan), Tabaski (Eid al-Adha), and Christmas.