The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom. The trend in the government’s respect for religious freedom did not change significantly during the year. Muslims, particularly ethnic Somalis, complained of profiling by government security forces because of ongoing attacks inside Kenya and the Kenyan military intervention against the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab.
There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Some Muslims alleged that business and community leaders thwarted development efforts in predominantly Muslim areas. Some Christian leaders alleged that Christians were subject to discrimination in the historically Muslim areas of Coast and North Eastern provinces. Grenade attacks on churches, which the government linked to al-Shabaab terrorist activity, prompted reprisal attacks directed at Muslims, particularly ethnic Somalis. Prominent societal leaders, however, took positive steps to promote religious freedom. Following attacks on churches in North Eastern province, interfaith leaders made public statements supporting religious tolerance, and Muslim leaders mobilized adherents to protect Christian places of worship and attend Christian services to show solidarity.
The U.S. embassy regularly discussed issues of religious freedom and inclusion with government officials and with local and national religious leaders, including members of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, and the National Council of Churches of Kenya. The embassy urged religious leaders to engage in interfaith efforts, promoting a continued commitment to religious freedom and to religious diversity. The embassy also supported interfaith efforts to defuse political and ethnic tensions, and encouraged religious leaders to work together across sectarian lines to advance tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the run-up to the 2013 national elections.