Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 12:56 GMT

2008 Report on International Religious Freedom - Mali

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Publication Date 19 September 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom - Mali, 19 September 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d5cbb65f.html [accessed 17 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally freed practice of religion.

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report.

There were no reports of societal abuse or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 474,764 square miles and a population of 12 million. Muslims comprise an estimated 90 percent of the population; the vast majority of Muslims are Sunni. Approximately 5 percent of the population is Christian; the Christian community is roughly two-thirds Catholic and one-third Protestant. The remaining 5 percent practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs or no religion. Most immigrants come from neighboring countries and either practice Sunni Islam or belong to a Christian denomination. The majority of citizens practice their religion daily.

Christian communities tend to be located in and around urban areas, generally in the southern regions. Groups that practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs reside throughout the country, but they are most active in rural areas.

The Muslim community in general is tolerant and respectful of minority religious groups. There are several mosques associated with the fundamentalist group Dawa al Tabligh; however, their influence appears to have declined in recent years. The Wahhabi movement, which has existed in the country since the 1940s and 50s, is evident throughout the country, although, as with other forms of Islam in the country, it is not as exclusionary as practiced in other countries.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors. The Constitution defines the country as a secular state and allows for religious practices that do not pose a threat to social stability and peace.

The Government requires the registration of all public associations, including religious associations; however, registration confers no tax preference or other legal benefits, and failure to register is not penalized in practice. The registration process is routine and not burdensome. The Government does not require traditional indigenous religious groups to register.

The Minister of Territorial Administration and Local Collectivities may prohibit religious publications that defame another religion; however, there were no reports of instances of such prohibitions during the period covered by this report.

Prior to making important decisions on potentially controversial national issues, the Government consults with a "Committee of Wise Men" that includes the Catholic archbishop and Protestant and Muslim leaders.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report.

There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees in the country.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Section III. Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.Adherents of different religious groups are often part of the same family. Followers of one religion attend religious ceremonies of other religious groups, especially weddings, baptisms, and funerals.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. Embassy officials expanded dialogue with Muslim groups to promote religious freedom, mutual understanding, and the continued secularism of the Government. The Embassy maintained contact with the foreign missionary community and worked with government officials and societal leaders to promote religious freedom.

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