According to international reports, in November officials reported two imams were charged with money‑laundering and were suspected to have ties with Boko Haram. A week later, President Macky Sall stated that people should have the courage to fight “excessive” forms of Islam. The president also stated there was a need to train imams with a sense of tolerant Islam.
The government provided direct financial and material assistance to religious groups, primarily to maintain or rehabilitate places of worship or to underwrite special events. There was no formal procedure for applying for assistance. All religious groups had access to these funds and often competed on an ad hoc basis to obtain them.
The government encouraged and assisted Muslim participation in the Hajj, providing imams with hundreds of free airplane tickets for the pilgrimage for distribution among citizens. The government provided assistance for an annual Roman Catholic pilgrimage to the Vatican, the Palestinian territories, and Israel. The Catholic Church reported that the government provided 358 million CFA francs $594,000) for 338 Christian pilgrims who traveled to the Vatican in August and September.
The government allowed up to four hours of voluntary religious education per week in public elementary schools. Parents could choose either a Christian or Muslim curriculum. Students had the option to opt out of the curriculum. The Ministry of Education reported slightly more than a million students participated in religious education through the public elementary school system.
The education ministry provided partial funding to schools operated by religious groups that met national education standards. Established Christian schools with strong academic reputations received the largest share of this government funding. The majority of students attending Christian schools were Muslim. The government also funded a number of Islamic schools which enrolled approximately 60,000 students.
The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Women, Family and Social Development monitored domestic associations, including religious groups and NGOs affiliated with them, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitored foreign‑based NGOs, including those affiliated with religious groups, to ensure they were operating within the terms of their registration. The ministries required the submission of an annual report, including a financial report.