The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The government recognizes Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam as state religions. The government requires other religious groups to register as associations. Official recognition as an association affords these groups the same rights as the state religions. Officially recognized religious groups receive import duty exemptions for humanitarian and development projects.
Organizations must submit applications for registration to the Directorate of Religious Affairs, located within the Ministry of Territorial Administration. A religious organization must submit its statutes, statement of doctrine, bylaws, names and addresses of executive board members, the group leader’s religious credentials, a site use agreement, site map, and description of its financial situation. Criteria for recognition include the authenticity of the religious leader’s diploma and, most importantly, the ethical behavior of the group, which must not cause a breach of public order. The Directorate of Religious Affairs issues a receipt that serves as temporary recognition to applicant religious groups and associations and allows them to practice their religion, pending investigation and issuance of formal written authorization, which usually takes several years. The government did not reject any applications during the reporting period.
Religious organizations must request permission to conduct large nighttime celebrations, particularly those involving loud ceremonies in residential areas or that block city streets. Officials routinely grant these requests. The Ministry of Territorial Administration handles complaints associated with religious organizations, particularly noise complaints related to celebrations at night. The ministry sends security force personnel to address complaints.
The High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication, the government commission that monitors the media, prohibits political discussions on religious radio and television stations.
The public school curriculum does not include religion classes; however, there are many Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic schools, and the government provides them with teachers and other staff and pays their salaries.
The constitution explicitly prohibits the establishment of political parties based on religion, ethnic group, or region.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Easter Monday, Ascension, Pentecost Monday, Assumption, Eid al-Fitr, All Saints’ Day, Tabaski, and Christmas.