The constitution provides for freedom of religious belief and worship, consistent with law and order, and prohibits religious discrimination in employment. It emphasizes that religious tolerance is fundamental to the nation’s unity, national reconciliation, and social cohesion. It forbids speech that encourages religious hatred. On June 6, members of a mosque closed in 2016 held a sit-in to protest its closing. As in previous years, the government organized and supervised Hajj pilgrimages for Muslims and funded pilgrimages to France and Israel for Christians. In January Muslim and Catholic leaders participated in dialogue between the government and soldiers who staged a mutiny over payment of bonuses. The vice president, the prime minister, and members of the government attended an interfaith ceremony on the Day of Remembrance for the 22 persons killed during the March 2016 terrorist attack in Grand Bassam. A Catholic priest and an imam said prayers for the victims.
On June 21, during a sermon on the Night of Destiny, an imam condemned what he termed the widespread corruption and impunity of the government in the presence of several high-level government officials.
U.S. embassy representatives discussed the importance of religious tolerance with political figures in the government, the political opposition, and the national media. In November an embassy official met with the director general of religious affairs to discuss how the directorate manages interreligious dialogue. The Charge d’Affaires and other embassy representatives visited the city of Man, in the west, on several occasions, where they met with government and religious leaders to discuss a conflict over the leadership of a prominent mosque. In June the Charge d’Affaires led an embassy delegation on a visit to an impoverished neighborhood of Abidjan to participate in an iftar during Ramadan at the Abobo Rail mosque. The Charge d’Affaires and embassy representatives met with religious leaders and groups, such as Fondation Djigui, throughout the year to discuss their role in maintaining a climate of tolerance and religious freedom.