The constitution establishes the state as secular and affirms the separation of religion and state. It provides for freedom of religion and equality before the law without distinction as to religion. It prohibits “denominational propaganda” that inhibits national unity. The government maintained its ban on the leading Salafist association but anecdotal evidence suggested enforcement of this ban proved difficult. Those practicing this interpretation of Islam continued to meet and worship in their own mosques. Senior government officials, including the president, promoted religious tolerance in their public statements.
Religious leaders continued to raise awareness of the risks of terrorist attacks and to advocate for security in places of worship. Religious leaders, including the secretary of the Chadian churches and evangelical mission for harmony, the vice president of the Catholic Church’s Episcopal Conference of Chad, and the High Council for Islamic Affairs (HCIA) publicly stated they supported the president’s statements advocating religious tolerance. In May a group that included foreign government officials and representatives from both the Sufi and Salafi communities met in N’Djamena to examine the state of relations between the two communities. The group concluded that intra-Muslim tensions were high and expressed concern about the absence of a Salafi representative in the HCIA.
The Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights visited the country in October to discuss strategies for combating violent extremism with the president and other government officials. The U.S. Ambassador and embassy representatives maintained a dialogue on religious freedom, met regularly with religious leaders, and supported outreach programs with Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Protestant leaders. The Ambassador hosted an iftar for religious leaders, including Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, and Bahai representatives and government officials, during which participants discussed religious freedom and tolerance.