The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
Religious groups must register with the government by submitting documentation to the Ministry of Justice detailing the structure and mission of their organization, along with a nominal fee. Once approved, a religious group must register formally with the Registrar General’s office.
Foreign missionaries are required to have employment permits. Missionaries and charitable workers pay lower fees for employment permits compared to other professionals.
The Malawi Communications Act of 1998 guides regulation of all broadcasting. One element of this act, specifically pertaining to religious broadcasting, states that “(b)roadcasting licensees shall not broadcast any material which is indecent or obscene or offensive to public morals (including abusive or insulting language) or offensive to the religious convictions of any section of the population or likely to prejudice the safety of the Republic or public order and tranquility.”
Public schools offer religious education. Christian-oriented “Bible Knowledge” courses and “Moral and Religious Education” courses (that include Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, and Christian material) are available for schools. The Ministry of Education requires all schools to grant students or their parents the right to choose their religious instruction; however, individual parent-teacher associations or school committees decide which religion courses to offer. Although the courses are voluntary, some Muslims continue to request that the Ministry of Education discontinue use of the “Bible Knowledge” course and use only the broader-based “Moral and Religious Education” course in primary schools. Muslim courses are not available in public schools. The Muslim community operates its own schools where Islamic instruction is available to students.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Eid al-Fitr, and Christmas.