The constitution provides for the right to practice or not to practice religion freely and prohibits discrimination based on religion. These and other rights may be temporarily suspended or restricted only in the event of a declaration of a state of war, siege, or emergency, in accordance with the terms of the constitution. The constitution prohibits faith‑based political parties. Religious groups have the right to organize, worship, and operate schools. The government continued to register religious groups and organizations; nevertheless, a number of applications remained pending at year’s end. Government‑run Pemba Provincial Hospital reversed a 2014 temporary ban on visitors wearing burqas that it put in place after a woman wearing a burqa kidnapped a newborn at the facility. Hospital management lifted the ban after discussions with local Muslim community leaders. The government continued negotiations on the restitution of property seized from religious groups after independence.
There were no reports of significant societal actions affecting religious freedom.
The Ambassador and embassy officials engaged government and civil society throughout the year to discuss religious freedom and tolerance. Embassy officials facilitated meetings between leaders of various religious groups to promote interfaith understanding.