The constitution states that the country is secular, prohibits religious discrimination, provides for freedom of religion, bans the use of religion for political ends, and stipulates impositions on freedom of conscience stemming from “religious fanaticism” shall be punishable by law. A government decree with the force of law also bans individuals from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public places. A government-led security operation launched on April 5 damaged or destroyed several structures in the southern Pool region, including a Protestant Pentecostal church.
There were reports of increased societal tensions stemming from the rapid growth of the Muslim community. There were no reports of religiously motivated incidents or actions directed against the Muslim community, however.
The U.S. embassy promoted religious freedom and tolerance during meetings held with officials at the Ministries of Justice, Social Affairs and Humanitarian Action, and Interior. Embassy officials met separately with Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim leaders to discuss the state of religious tolerance and cooperation.