Religion in Mali
An estimated 90 percent of Malians are Muslim, mostly Sunni with strong Sufi tradition; approximately 5 percent are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant denominations); the remaining 5 percent of Malians adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs. Atheism and agnosticism are believed to be rare among Malians, most of whom practice their religion on a daily basis, although some are Deist.
According to the 2005 U.S. Department of State’s annual report on religious freedom, Islam as traditionally practiced in Mali was characterized as moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions. Women were allowed to particpate in social economical and political activities and generally do not wear veils. The constitution establishes a secular state and provides for freedom of religion, and the government largely respects this right. Relations between Muslims and practitioners of minority religious faiths are generally amicable, and foreign missionary groups (both Muslim and non-Muslim) are tolerated.
Since the 2012 imposition of Sharia rule in northern parts of the country however, Mali was listed high (#7) in the Christian persecution index published by Open Doors which described the persecution in the north as severe.
Implementation of Sharia included banning of music, with groups showing up randomly in villages, armed with weaponry, to burn musical instruments and musical items. One guitarist was threatened that his fingers would be chopped off if he ever showed his face in one town again. Other rules such as cutting off hands or feet of thieves, stoning of adulterers and public whipping of smokers, alcohol drinkers and women who are not properly dressed were also implemented. 
In 2012 several Islamic sites in Mali were destroyed or damaged by vigilante activists linked to Al Qaeda, claiming that "idol worship" characterized the sites.
- International Religious Freedom Report 2008: Mali
- Mali country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (January 2005). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Report points to 100 million persecuted Christians. Retrieved on 10 January 2013.
- OPEN DOORS World Watch list 2012. Worldwatchlist.us. Retrieved on 2013-01-18.
- Mali: no rhythm or reason as militants declare war on music, United Kingdom: The Guardian, 2012, retrieved 30 Jan 2013
- Hughes, Dana (2012-07-03). "Al Qaeda destroys Timbuktu shrines, ancient city's spirit". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-07-06.