The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on religion, and there is strict separation of church and state. The penal code prohibits mistreatment of ethnic, religious, and other minority groups. The Honorary Commission against Racism, Xenophobia, and All Forms of Discrimination provides for government compliance with the laws, and representatives from several religious groups are active participants.
Religious groups are entitled to tax exemptions on their houses of worship, and no group reported difficulties. To receive tax exemptions, a religious group must register as a nonprofit entity and draft organizing statutes. It must then apply to the Ministry of Education and Culture, which examines the legal entity and may grant religious status. The group must reapply every five years. Once the ministry grants religious status, the group may request an exemption each year from the taxing authority, which is usually the municipal government.
Muslims may obtain an optional identity card that identifies their religious affiliation to employers and allows them to leave work early on Fridays.
Religious instruction in public schools is prohibited. Public schools allow students who belong to minority religious groups to miss school for religious holidays without penalty.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Epiphany, Carnival (the Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, All Souls Day, and Christmas.