The constitution prohibits religious discrimination and provides for freedom of religion and worship and equality for all, irrespective of religious belief. It grants religious groups autonomy and the right to provide religious instruction. The government again denied some applications for registration of religious groups during the year, often for reasons related to documentation. Ministry officials described the religious groups it rejected as often “one-man operations,” practicing a mixture of Christianity and traditional animist beliefs. President Ali Bongo Ondimba and other government officials strongly denounced a knife attack against two foreigners in Libreville, purportedly in retaliation for what the attacker called U.S. actions against Muslims.
Leaders of Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic faiths met regularly, attended each other’s major festivals, and worked together to promote religious tolerance and to defend freedom of religion. In October political activists prevented Muslims from entering a mosque for prayers. Other faith leaders immediately denounced the actions, and activities at the mosque resumed peacefully the following day.
U.S. embassy staff met with senior government officials from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to encourage continued respect for religious freedom and encouraged government officials to continue their outreach to religious communities to discuss religious freedom. Embassy staff encouraged Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic leaders to continue their interfaith dialogue and activities promoting interreligious tolerance and understanding.