Chad - Religion
Most northerners practice Islam, and most southerners practice Christianity or indigenous religions; however, religious distribution is mixed in urban areas. The US government estimates the population at 11.6 million (July 2015 estimate). According to the Second General Population Census (2009), approximately 58 percent of the population is Muslim, 18 percent Roman Catholic, 16 percent Protestant, and the remaining 8 percent practices indigenous religious beliefs. Most Muslims adhere to the Sufi Tijaniyah tradition. A small minority hold beliefs associated with Wahhabism or Salafism. Slightly more than half of Christians are Roman Catholic. The majority of Protestants are evangelical Christians. There are also small numbers of Bahais and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The constitution stipulates separation of religion and state and provides for freedom of religion and equality before the law without distinction as to religion. It prohibits “denominational propaganda” that inhibits national unity. Citing security reasons, the prime minister banned burqas after a suicide bombing in N’Djamena on June 15. The president made public statements promoting religious tolerance. Christian and Islamic leaders made statements supporting the burqa ban. Christian and Islamic groups comprising the Regional Forum on Interfaith Dialogue held their sixth annual day of prayer and pardon, which aimed to encourage interfaith collaboration and reduce violence, and met several times to promote religious tolerance. Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Protestant leaders continued joint efforts to advocate religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence with refugees and returnees from the Central African Republic
Under the law, all associations, religious or otherwise, must register with the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security. The associations must provide a list of all the founding members and their positions in the organization, the founders’ resumes, copies of the founders’ identification cards, minutes of the establishment meetings, a letter to the minister requesting registration, the principal source of the organization’s revenue, the address of the organization, a copy of the rules and procedures, and the statutory documents of the organization. The ministry conducts background checks on every founding member and establishes a six-month temporary but renewable authorization to operate, pending the final authorization and approval. Failure to register with the ministry may lead to the banning of a group, one month to a year in prison, and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs ($83 to $830). Organizations that fail to register are not considered legal entities and cannot open a bank account or enter into contracts. Registration does not confer tax preferences or other benefits.
In his 2015 Eid al-Adha sermon, Imam Ahmat Mahamat Annour Al-Helou, Mufti of Chad, urged Muslims to behave responsibly, to show solidarity and tolerance, and preach peace and unity everywhere in the country. He said, “a Muslim should be exemplary because Islam is essentially peace. So the Muslim must be a person of peace, a social educator and not a suicide bomber.” In addition, he welcomed what he termed were the efforts of the government to effectively fight against Boko Haram. On December 12, President Deby Itno presided over the sixth annual National Day of Peace, Peaceful Cohabitation, and National Concord of the Regional Forum on Interfaith Dialogue and delivered remarks highlighting the peaceful coexistence among religious communities which he said existed in the country. He promised continued government support to the religious community for peace-building efforts.
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