The constitution and other laws and policies generally protect religious freedom.
The constitution states that the country is a secular state, and both it and other laws protect the right of individuals to choose and change their religion and provide the right to practice the religion of one’s choice.
The government requires all organizations, religious or otherwise, to register with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Security. The registration process usually takes about three to four weeks and costs less than 50,000 CFA francs ($105). Registration confers legal status but no specific controls or benefits. Failure to register may result in a fine of 50,000 to 150,000 CFA francs ($105 to $316).
Religious groups operate under the same regulatory framework for publishing and broadcasting as other entities. The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Security has the right to request copies of proposed publications and broadcasts to verify that they are in accordance with the stated nature of the religious group.
The government taxes religious groups only if they engage in commercial activities, such as farming or dairy production.
Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Protestant groups operate primary and secondary schools and some schools of higher education. Although school officials must submit the names of their directors to the government and register their schools, religious or otherwise, the government does not appoint or approve these officials.
The government does not fund religious schools, nor does it require them to pay taxes unless they conduct for-profit activities. The government reviews the curricula of most religious schools to ensure they offer the full standard academic curriculum; however, the majority of Quranic schools have not been registered with the Ministry of Education.