The constitution provides for freedom of religious opinion to all consistent with law and order and prohibits religious discrimination in employment. It forbids speech that encourages religious hatred. As in previous years, the government organized and funded Hajj pilgrimages for Muslims and pilgrimages to Israel for Christians. The government continued to include Muslim and Catholic leaders in political reconciliation efforts. The Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) Central Commission included positions for Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
The president declared October 24 a national day of mourning for those Ivoirians killed in the Mina stampede near Mecca on September 24, and both Muslim and Christian communities held prayer services to recognize the victims. In observance of the tragedy, a large Catholic church in Abidjan hosted an interfaith prayer service with attendance of leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities.
U.S. embassy representatives discussed the importance of religious tolerance with political figures in the government and the opposition. The Ambassador and embassy representatives met with religious leaders and groups throughout the year to discuss the role they could play in maintaining a climate of tolerance in the run-up to the October presidential elections. A Voice of America (VOA) interactive radio program continued to feature discussion and debate of religious issues on the national Islamic radio station. In October the embassy sponsored a concert in Abidjan promoting tolerance that featured musical groups of different faiths and attracted thousands of attendees.