In November the Central Equatoria State government demolished one mosque in Juba. In previous years, the Central Equatoria State government had demolished two other mosques on government land. According to Islamic leaders, Muslim soldiers from the north, who came to South Sudan to fight during the war for independence, built these mosques in areas where they encamped, on land that did not belong to them. The South Sudan Islamic Council, the central coordinating body for Islamic groups in the country, worked with the Executive Office of the President, which acted as an intermediary with the state government, to discuss compensation in the form of new land, for the destroyed mosques. These discussions were ongoing at year’s end.
Unlike previous years, imams and other Muslim leaders said Muslims did not face discrimination in applications for citizenship or other documentation. Some members of the Greek Christian community born in Sudan, who in previous years since independence had reported problems with their citizenship and documentation applications, stated they no longer faced these problems.
Public primary schools had a mandatory religious education course, and students could attend either the Christian or Islamic religion course. The Ministry of Education was in the process of developing a national curriculum that would include a course on religion. Details of the course or on when the national curriculum might be implemented were unavailable at year’s end.
President Kiir held an iftar and offered the Ministry of Education’s support to the Islamic community in building Islamic schools. Both a Christian representative and a Muslim representative read prayers at most official events, with translation from English to Arabic often provided.
Muslims in government included at least one governor and, through July, 17 members of the 332-member National Legislative Assembly (NLA). After the NLA dismissed 23 members in August, only 309 seats in the NLA were filled and the number of Muslim members was unknown.
A nonpartisan delegation of Christian and Muslim leaders accepted a government invitation to attend Intergovernmental Authority on Development-led peace talks in Addis Ababa on the country’s civil conflict.