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 dating to the constitution of 1917. The penal code prohibits mistreatment of ethnic, religious, and other minority groups. The National Institute of Human Rights, an autonomous branch of Congress, and the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Honorary Commission against Racism, Xenophobia, and All Forms of Discrimination require government compliance with the laws. Representatives from several religious and civil society groups are active participants of the Honorary Commission.
Religious groups are entitled to, and typically received, tax exemptions for their houses of worship. To receive tax exemptions, a religious group must register as a non-profit entity and draft organizing statutes. It must then apply to the Ministry of Education and Culture, which examines the legal entity and may grant authorization for the religious group to request property tax exemption from the taxing authority, 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 belonging 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.