Muslims and Christians commonly attended each other’s ceremonies and celebrations. Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports of attacks or threats against members of any religious group or groups’ property, or of communal tensions between Muslims and Christians.
Leaders from the country’s principal religious organizations, including the Secretary of the Chadian Churches and Evangelical Mission for Harmony (EEMET), Souina Potiphar, and the Vice President of the Catholic Church’s Episcopal Conference of Chad, Bishop Joachim Kouraleyo Tarounga, publicly stated they supported the president’s statements advocating religious tolerance.
The independent High Council for Islamic Affairs (HCIA) oversaw Islamic religious activities, including some Arabic language schools and institutions of higher learning, and represented the country at international Islamic forums. In coordination with the president, the HCIA appointed the grand imam, who was confirmed by the president. The grand imam oversaw each region’s high imam and served as head of the council. He had the authority to restrict Muslim groups from proselytizing, regulate the content of mosque sermons, and control activities of Muslim charities, although he did not exercise it.
The Regional Forum on Interfaith Dialogue, comprised of representatives of evangelical churches, the Catholic Church, and the Islamic community, met three times during the year to promote religious tolerance and combat prejudice. On January 25, President Deby Itno presided over the group’s third annual National Day of Peace, Peaceful Cohabitation, and National Concord, which consisted of prayer and pardon for people of all faiths and aimed to promote tolerance and eliminate verbal abuse and physical violence. The event also celebrated interfaith harmony among the nation’s three largest religious groups. Principal leaders of the Muslim, Catholic, and evangelical faith communities delivered speeches extolling what they characterized as the strong ties and peaceful coexistence among citizens of all faiths.
On August 20 in Moundou, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant leaders launched a project funded by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to teach values of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence to refugees and Chadian returnees from the Central African Republic. The Secretary General of EEMET, the President of the HCIA, the vice president of the Episcopal Conference of Chad, and more than 700 individuals gathered in Moundou and pledged to promote peace, unity, and tolerance among the different religious communities. Participants continued the interfaith dialogue through subsequent meetings in Gore, Sarh, Sido, and Moissala.
On January 12, the grand imam hosted a ceremony commemorating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad at N’Djamena’s Grand Mosque, during which he stressed what he termed was the country’s successful interreligious dialogue and religious coexistence. Numerous imams and religious teachers attended, as well as the prime minister, the head of EEMET, and members of the diplomatic corps.