Religion in the Comoros
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Islam is followed by about 99 percent of Comorians, almost all of whom are Sunni Muslims. Fewer than 400 citizens—approximately 1 percent of the population—are Christian, all of whom reportedly converted to Christianity within the last half of the 1990s. Small groups of foreigners are Hindus or Christians. Following a 1999 military coup, the May 2000 constitution did not allow for freedom of religion. The December 2001 Constitution of Comoros does provide for this freedom, however, and also makes Islam the state religion. The government tends to discourage the practice of other faiths. The practice of Christianity is particularly restricted. There are two Roman Catholic churches and one Protestant church. Since before the 1999 coup, the government has restricted the use of these churches to noncitizens only. Harassment and social discrimination of Christians is widespread. Proselytizing of Christianity is prohibited. The Grand Mufti, who is nominated by the president to serve in the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, serves as the government counsel on Islamic faith and law.
According to the 2006 estimate by the U.S. Department of State, roughly 98% of the population in the Comoros are Muslim. Islam and its institutions have helped to integrate Comorian society and provide identification with a world beyond the islands' shores. Most adherents are Arab-Swahili or Persian, but there are also people of Indian descent.
Comorians follow religious observances conscientiously and strictly adhere to religious orthodoxy. During colonization, the French did not attempt to supplant Islamic practices and were careful to respect the precedents of sharia as interpreted by the Shafi'i school of thought. All Muslim holidays are observed, including Id al-Adha, Muharram, Ashura, Mawlid, Laylat al-Mi'raj and Ramadan. Mawlid is marked by celebrations culminating in a feast prepared for the ulama. Many women wear the shiromani, a printed cloth worn around the body. Comorians often consult mwalimus or fundi and marabouts for healing and protection from jinn. Mwalimus activate jinn to determine propitious days for feasts, a successful marriage, conduct healing ceremonies and prepare amulets containing Quranic ayat.
Christianity in the Comoros is a minority religion. Roman Catholics in the Comoros are about 6000 (0.8% of the population). Protestants are about 1,678 people (about 0.25% of the population).
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (2nd edition), Volume 1, p. 208 there is at least one congregation of Seventh Day Adventists and the reformed Eglise de Jésus Christ aux Comores.[verification needed]
- "Comoros 2001 (rev. 2009)". Constitute. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- Catholic Hierarchy – Vicariate Apostolic of Archipelago of the Comores