The constitution prohibits religious discrimination and stipulates there shall be no state religion. It provides for freedom of belief and the right to practice and promote any religion and to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious organization in a manner consistent with the constitution. The government requires religious groups to register. The government closed several madrassahs and mosques over allegations of supporting terrorism, drawing complaints from Muslim leaders that authorities were targeting religious institutions rather than individuals who may have been involved in extremist activities. The government also restricted activities of religious groups it defined as “cults” and arrested members who opposed government programs such as immunization drives. In August the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity announced it had established a directorate to coordinate all faith-based institutions and their activities.
Assailants targeted five Muslim leaders for assassination, killing two. Police arrested suspects and provided protection to clerics named on a “hit list,” but senior Muslim leaders expected the violence to continue. There were no convictions by year’s end. A U.S. Christian publication reported four deaths, a rape, kidnappings, and several beatings of Christians by Muslims for religious reasons. Local authorities disputed aspects of some reports and, along with media and the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, had no reports on the remainder of the reported incidents.
The embassy worked closely with authorities and religious leaders to press for a fair and full investigation of the Muslim cleric murders and engaged with police regarding the arrest of “cult” members. The embassy also organized an exchange program for Muslim leaders to travel to the United States and hosted a visiting U.S. imam to promote discussion of interfaith cooperation and religious freedom. The Ambassador issued Ramadan and Eid messages on religious tolerance and respect and hosted an iftar that stressed tolerance and religious freedom.