The government regularly consulted with Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Kimbanguist, and Orthodox religious groups. The Consortium of Traditional Religious Leaders served as an informal forum for religious leaders to gather and discuss issues of concern.

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

In April police arrested three Mormons in Kinshasa and detained additional supporters who protested the initial arrests. Political involvement by the church leader was cited as a possible reason for the arrests. All individuals were released three and a half months later, with no conviction or trial.

There were no reports of religious prisoners in the country.

On October 8 violence broke out between Muslims and animists in Kalima, Maniema, resulting in the burning of two mosques and the beating and lashing of up to 20 people.

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The extent of his success caused increasing alarm among both church and state authorities. Numerous preachers and sages appeared, many of them professing to be his followers. Some of these preachers and possibly some of Kimbangu's own disciples introduced anti-European elements in their teachings. And European interests were affected when African personnel abandoned their posts for long periods in order to follow Kimbangu and participate in his services.

Even though the religion was banned,[14] and the country torn by wars, the religion grew so that in 2003 there were some 541 assemblies.[12] The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying mostly on the World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated some 252,000 Bahá'ís in 2005.[15]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1986 and has been growing rapidly since. As of December 31 the church has 42,689 members in 145 congregations in the country and has provided strong humanitarian assistance since its establishment.[6] In 2011, the church in its 181st annual general conference announced the first temple in the country will be built in Kinshasa.[7]

At times they have resisted state pressure violently, as in Shaba in 1979 when the appearance of army units in their midst provoked an attack by Kitawalists on the state's administrative offices and the killing of two soldiers. The state retaliated with a vicious repression. More frequently, Kitawalists withdraw when state pressure becomes excessive. Entire communities have moved into deep forest in areas such as Équateur Province in order to escape any contact with civil authorities.

There were reports of abuses of religious freedom in the country.

Nature spirits live in particular places, such as rivers, rocks, trees, or pools, or in natural forces such as wind and lightning. A typical practice involving a nature spirit in much of northern Zaire is the commonplace tossing of a red item (palm nut, cloth, matches, etc.) in a river before crossing it, particularly in places where the water is rough or turbulent. Thus placated, the spirit will refrain from stirring up the waters or overturning the boat.

62 of the Protestant denominations in the country are federated under the umbrella of the Church of Christ in Congo or CCC (in French, Église du Christ au Congo or ECC). It is often simply referred to as 'The Protestant Church', since it covers most of the 20% of the population who are Protestants.[4] Islam was introduced and mainly spread by Arab merchants.[5]

Religious groups operated many public schools; the government allowed the groups to provide religious instruction.

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Please refer to Appendix C in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the status of the government's acceptance of international legal standards

Theological messages varied from place to place, but a common core of beliefs included the struggle against sorcery, the purification of society, and the existence of a black God. Kitawala denounced all forms of authority as the work of Satan, including taxes, forced labor, and most other coercive elements of colonial rule. The movement's anticolonial message was so strong that the worldwide Watch Tower movement formally renounced it.

The Bahá'í Faith in Democratic Republic of the Congo began after `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote letters encouraging taking the religion to Africa in 1916.[11] The first Bahá'í to settle in the country came in 1953 from Uganda.[12] The first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly of the country was elected in 1957. By 1963 there were 143 local assemblies in Congo.[13]

On December 13 another priest was wounded and his wife killed in a targeted killing by unknown armed gunmen. The priest was in a coma after the attack in his home in Goma, North Kivu.

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Section III. Status of Societal Actions Affecting Enjoyment of Religious Freedom

Although the government committed to a judicial investigation, there was no investigation into the 2008 police crackdown on the BDK in Bas-Congo, where police reportedly killed at least 100 BDK adherents and razed BDK houses and temples. The government did not take any further action in prosecuting those responsible for the attacks. The organization changed its name to Bundu dia Mayala and was pursuing political party recognition while quietly continuing its religious practices.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom

The government generally respected religious freedom in law and in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.

Muslims comprise 2% of the Congolese population, with majority of them living in Brazzaville alone. There are also Matsouana and Bougist churches attended by a few. Other people in the country who do not practice Christian religion or Islam religion practice the traditional religion or no religion at all.

The government requires foreign religious groups to obtain the approval of the president through the minister of justice; such groups generally operated without restriction once they received approval.

On September 7 the embassy co-hosted an iftar (evening meal during Ramadan) with national Islamic organizations. More than 100 people attended the event, including Muslims from the local and international communities and non-Muslim diplomats. In their remarks, the U.S. chargé d'affaires and Imam Cheikh Abdallah Mangala Luaba invoked President Obama's Cairo speech and shared hopes for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world.

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Mystical or messianic practices (particularly among the ethnic Lari population in the Pool region) have been associated with opposition political movements, including some elements of the armed insurrection in the southern part of the country from 1997 to 2001. While the association persists, its influence has diminished considerably since 2003.

Islam [9] has been present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the 18th century, when Arab traders from East Africa pushed into the interior for ivory- and slave-trading purposes. Today, Muslims constitute approximately 10% of the Congolese population according to CIA World Factbook. The majority are Sunni Muslims, with approximately 6% belonging to the Ahmadiyya movement in Islam.[10]

Colonial bannings failed to eradicate the movement, however. And the independent state that succeeded colonial authority, black African though it be, has been no more successful in converting the Kitawalists from their apolitical, antiauthoritarian stance. Kitawalists continue to resist saluting the flag, participating in party-mandated public works (Salongo), and paying taxes.

Religion in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Pew Research Center (2013)[1]

Situated outside of the governing colonial trinity of state, Catholic church, and companies, Protestant missions did not enjoy the same degree of official confidence as that accorded their Catholic counterparts. State subsidies for hospitals and schools, for example, were (with two individual exceptions) reserved exclusively for Catholic institutions until after World War II.

Religions Practised In Republic Of The Congo

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The ivory and slave traders from East Africa introduced Islam into the region in the 18th Century. Today the Muslim population accounts for around 1.6% of the total population in the country. Most Muslims work in the urban centers of Congo and are immigrants from the war-torn areas of West African countries of Mali, Togo, Benin, Senegal, and Mauritius, North Africa, and Sunni Muslims of Lebanon.

A 2001 decree allows nonprofit organizations, including religious organizations, to operate without restriction provided they registered with the government by submitting a copy of their bylaws and constitution. The government requires religious groups to register; however, in practice unregistered religious groups operated unhindered.

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom, and in practice, the government generally enforced these protections.

Since independence, church leadership and control have been widely and successfully Africanized, though not without conflict. Most mission property has been transferred to autonomous Congolese churches, and many foreign missionaries now work directly under the supervision of a Congolese-run church. The new indigenous leadership has succeeded in expanding its churches in Africa's largest francophone Protestant community.

There were isolated reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. There continued to be credible reports that families abandoned or abused persons, including children, accused of witchcraft.

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