The constitution provides for freedom of religious belief and worship, consistent with law and order, and prohibits religious discrimination. It emphasizes that religious tolerance is fundamental to the nation’s unity, national reconciliation, and social cohesion. It forbids speech that encourages religious hatred. In July the Department of Faith-Based Organizations within the Ministry of Interior organized a panel discussion with religious leaders on the use of information and communication technology.
Unknown individuals vandalized two Catholic churches in separate incidents in July and August. In October Muslim and Catholic leaders, along with government representatives, participated in the eighth Inter-Religious Conference for Peace hosted by the Sant’Egidio community. The three-day conference culminated in an interreligious prayer session and a march for peace.
The Ambassador and other U.S. embassy representatives met with government officials to emphasize the importance of human rights, including religious freedom, throughout the year. The Ambassador and other embassy representatives also met with religious leaders throughout the year, as well as with the director of the nationwide Muslim radio station Al-Bayane. Some discussions focused on the role of religious media outlets in promoting peace, social cohesion, and religious freedom.