According to the MOJ, through September it had registered six new religious groups and 10 new faith-based organizations. It had rejected no applications. There were a total of 816 religious groups and 200 religious organizations registered.
In September some religious organizations expressed concern that politicians visited their religious forums for political advocacy in connection with the national elections campaign season. The president of the Christian Council of Mozambique held a press conference to call on political parties to stop the use of religious forums for political campaigning. One religious organization stated some members felt pressured into attending electoral events organized by the governing party scheduled at the same time as religious services.
The government routinely granted visas and residence permits to foreign missionaries, although the process for all foreign residents was somewhat burdensome. The government increased enforcement of documentation requirements for visas and changes in status, including demanding invitation letters, certified education transcripts, and other qualification documents. Some missionaries who became frustrated with the effort required to obtain visas changed their destinations to other countries in the region.
The Greek Orthodox Church continued discussions with the government regarding the return of the Palacio de Casamento (Wedding Palace) building, a historical landmark in Maputo seized from the church after independence. The issue was under the consideration of the Office of the Presidency, which did not comment on the request during the year. While provincial governments were responsible for establishing a process for property restitution, the MOJ’s Directorate of Religious Affairs had a mandate to address the general issue.
Some members of the Muslim community sought permission to wear a headscarf in photos for identity documents. Although not directly addressed in the law, the government generally allowed wearing a headscarf for identity photos, but not the wearing of a veil or burqa in public schools. The provincial hospital in Pemba said it banned entry to persons wearing burqas to improve security in response to the theft of an infant by a person wearing a burqa.