The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. The constitution provides for a secular state, separation between religion and state, the equality of religions, and freedom of religious expression.
The director of religious and traditional affairs oversees religious matters. Working under the Ministry of Public Safety and Immigration, the director is responsible for arbitrating intercommunal conflicts, reporting on religious practices, and ensuring religious freedom.
The independent nongovernmental High Council for Islamic Affairs (HCIA) oversees Islamic religious activities, including supervising some Arabic language schools and institutions of higher learning, and representing the country in international Islamic meetings. In coordination with the president, the HCIA appoints the grand imam, who oversees each region’s high imam and serves as head of the council. In principle the grand imam has the authority, though he does not exercise it, to restrict Muslim groups from proselytizing, regulate the content of mosque sermons, and exert control over activities of Muslim charities.
Muslim and Christian leaders participate in managing the country’s wealth through a rotational position on the government board overseeing the use of oil revenues.
The government requires religious groups, except indigenous African groups, to register with the Ministry of Public Safety and Immigration. The process is routine and non-discriminatory. Registration does not confer tax preferences or other benefits on religious groups.
The government prohibits religious instruction in public schools but permits all religious groups to operate private schools without restriction.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Easter Monday, Eid al-Fitr, All Saints’ Day, Eid al-Adha, and Christmas.