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.
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.
By law, the Secretariat of Religious Affairs must approve all religious groups, which must then register with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Political Affairs. Registration entitles religious groups to value-added tax (VAT) exemptions on incoming shipments and to select energy subsidies. Once registered, each religious group must present the government a report on its affairs every six months.
Unregistered religious groups are not entitled to VAT exemptions and other benefits. By law, the government can shut down unregistered groups and expel foreign group leaders. There is limited opportunity for legal appeal of these penalties.
Religious groups and political parties may not own private radio and television stations, but the government permits religious and political broadcasting on privately owned commercial radio. The government allocates broadcast time during the week on state-owned national television for both Islamic and Christian programming, including Sunday mass, Islamic religious instruction, and Friday prayers from the central mosque.
The compulsory primary school curriculum does not include religious studies. Islamic schools are prevalent throughout the country and are the traditional forum for religious education. Some Islamic schools are private, while others receive local government support. Islamic schools, particularly common in the Fouta Djalon region, teach the compulsory government curriculum along with additional Quranic studies. Christian schools, which accept students of all religious groups, exist in the nation’s capital and most other big cities. Christian schools are private and include prayers before school. Although they do not receive government support, Christian schools teach a curriculum that fulfills the government’s compulsory primary school education requirement.
There are several madrassahs, usually associated with a mosque. Unlike Islamic schools, they do not teach the national primary school curriculum, teach in Arabic rather than French, and focus on Quranic studies. The government does not recognize madrassahs, which are not linked with the public school system and do not fulfill compulsory curriculum requirements. Funds from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf states support some madrassahs.
There are seminaries to train Catholic priests. Persons wishing to become imams may train with a local scholar or travel abroad to Senegal, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or other Muslim states.
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.