Religion in Lesotho
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Christianity is the dominant religion in Lesotho. The Christian Council of Lesotho, made up of representatives of all major Christian churches in the country, estimates that approximately 90 percent of the population are Christian. Lesotho Protestants represent 45% of the population (Evangelicals 26%, and Anglican and other Christian groups an additional 19 %.), Roman Catholics represent 45 percent of the population, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'i, and members of traditional indigenous religions comprise the remaining 10 percent of the population.
While Christians can be found throughout the country, Muslims live primarily in the northeast. Most practitioners of Islam (mainly Sunni) are of Asian origin, while the majority of Christians are members of the indigenous Basotho. Many Christians practice their traditional cultural beliefs and rituals along with Christianity. The Catholic and Anglican Churches have fused some aspects of local culture into their services; for example, the singing of hymns during services has developed into a traditional call and response in Sesotho—the indigenous language—as well as English. Indigenous religious beliefs also influence Songoma, a form of traditional medicine.
Missionaries are active in the country. The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. In 2007, the US received no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.
- International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Lesotho. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.