The constitution provides for the right to practice or not to practice religion freely and prohibits discrimination based on religion. These and other rights may temporarily be suspended or restricted only in the event of a declaration of a state of war, siege, or emergency. The constitution prohibits faith-based political parties and the use of religious symbols in politics. Religious groups have the right to organize, worship, and operate schools. On June 14, police arrested three citizens in Cabo Delgado based on their engagement in Islamic extremist activities, including distributing materials that rejected the authority of secular government authorities, advocated against modern education, and called for discrimination against women. On October 5, a group of Islamic militants in Cabo Delgado Province attacked police and district government facilities, reportedly killing at least two police officers. According to international reports, on November 28, the government ordered the closure of three mosques in Pemba, stating the mosques were connected with individuals linked to the deadly attacks in October. A Catholic Church representative said authorities in certain provinces required some dioceses to register locally in what he said was a violation of a 2012 agreement between the central government and the Holy See. The Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches reported no progress in their efforts to regain property the government seized following independence. In April the National Tax Authority announced that religious activities that generated a profit would no longer receive tax-exempt status.
The 2016 fatal shooting of Apostolic Faith Mission Pastor Joao Jofrisse in the central city of Chimoio remained unsolved. Religious leaders at a national seminar on preventing premature marriages rejected the practices of pastors of some religious congregations who encouraged the use of virgin girls as debt payments incurred by their parents. One such congregation in Zambezia Province closed.
The U.S. Ambassador and other embassy officials discussed the importance of religious freedom and the return of seized church property with the justice minister and the national director of religious affairs. Embassy representatives also discussed the importance of religious tolerance with Catholic Church representatives and Islamic religious leaders in the provinces of Tete, Sofala, Nampula, Cabo Delgado, and Zambezia.