The constitution provides for the right to practice freely or not to practice religion 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 political parties from using names or symbols associated with religious groups. Religious groups have the right to organize, worship, and operate schools.
The government’s COVID-19 preventive measures limiting religious services ended in April. Muslim and Christian leaders condemned violence as a means of political change, and Muslim leaders emphasized that religious-based violence that invoked Islam was inconsistent with tenets of the faith.
An Islamic State-affiliated terrorist group, ISIS-Mozambique (ISIS-M), continued to attack rural communities, kill civilians, and burn religious and government structures in Cabo Delgado Province in addition to conducting scattered attacks in neighboring Nampula Province. Media reports indicated that ISIS-M targeted both Muslim and Christian communities. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), news media outlets, and human rights organizations warned that attributing religious motives alone to terrorists risked exacerbating existing socioeconomic grievances among historically marginalized majority-Muslim populations. Strong interfaith cooperation and collaboration continued throughout the country.
The U.S. Ambassador engaged senior officials on the violence in the northern region. Among other messages, he noted the continued need for the government to engage partners from the religious community to effectively address the violence. The Ambassador and embassy officers discussed the importance of religious tolerance to promote peace and security with government leaders and representatives of religious groups and local civil society organizations. The U.S. government continued to support activities in Cabo Delgado to improve faith-based community resilience and to work with religious leaders to counter extremist messaging related to religion. The embassy hosted an iftar with religious and community leaders in Nampula province in the north of the country as part of the embassy’s outreach to the Muslim community.