The Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC) provides for the right of each individual to practice one’s religion. There were no reports the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) had failed to uphold that right in the parts of the country it controlled. The PFC enshrines Islam as the state religion, prohibits the propagation of any religion other than Islam, and stipulates all laws must comply with the general principles of sharia (Islamic law). Regional administrations controlled various parts of the country, and the FGS was unable to implement the PFC in areas of the country outside its control.
Regional administrations, including the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest, Puntland State in the northeast, and the Interim Juba Administration in the southwest, provided governance functions in much of the country. The constitutions of Somaliland and Puntland State enshrine Islam as the state religion, prohibit Muslims from converting to another religion, bar the propagation of any religion other than Islam, and stipulate all laws must comply with the general principles of sharia. The constitution of Somaliland also stipulates freedom of belief, but Somaliland enforced its ban against the propagation of religions other than Islam. The Puntland State constitution stipulates non-Muslims shall enjoy the freedom of their faith and shall not be coerced to convert to another religion; there were no reports of abuses of that right by the Puntland State authorities.
The terrorist organization al-Shabaab retained control of many rural areas in the south and central regions. Except for Xuddur, capital of Bakool Region, al-Shabaab could not reassert itself over the major population centers it previously controlled. Al-Shabaab maimed and killed persons suspected of converting from Islam or those who failed to adhere to the group’s edicts.
There were reports of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Conversion from Islam to another religion remained socially unacceptable in all areas. Those suspected of conversion faced harassment by members of their community.
The United States has no permanent diplomatic presence in the country. U.S. government officials traveled to Somalia when security conditions permitted. U.S. government efforts to promote religious freedom focused on supporting efforts to bring stability and reestablish the rule of law and urging respect for provisions for religious rights in the PFC, Puntland State, and Somaliland constitutions.