283 religious groups were officially registered by the Malagasy Interior Ministry in October 2016, according to the US Embassy’s international report on religious freedom in Madagascar.
283 registered religious groups
283. This is the number of religious groups registered by the Ministry of the Interior inOctober 2016, according to the 2016 international report on religious freedom in Madagascar. A significant number, if we refer to the law. Actually, to be eligible for registration, a group must have at least 100 members and an elected board of directors with up to nine members, all of whom must be nationals. « Groups that do not meet these registration requirements can be registered rather as » mere associations « , argues international report. Through this registration, a religious group receives the legal status necessary to receive legacies and other direct donations. They can apply for a tax exemption whenever they receive a gift from abroad. Registered religious groups have the right to acquire land from individuals to build places of worship.
Rigidity of the Government
Despite a certain palpable religious freedom, the Malagasy Government is still rigid in front of the expansion of certain religions on the Big Island, notably the Muslim religion. « According to a study by the NGO Focus Development and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), many native-born Muslims have been unable to obtain citizenship documents because of nationality laws Which limit the ability of Malagasy women to pass on citizenship to their children if the father is not a citizen. The Ministry of the Interior (MoI) deported 10 Pakistani Imams who have exceeded the expiry date of their visa. They have run a mosque and a Koranic school, which they are not allowed to do with a tourist visa », the US embassy report said. Officials from the US Embassy held talks with the government on issues related to religious freedom. The Nationality Code was also discussed and reformed. Moreover, at present, the Malagasy woman can transmit her nationality to her child. « The Malagasy Constitution provides for the freedom of religious thought and expression and prohibits religious discrimination. Laws also protect individual religious freedom from abuses by the government or private actors, « the international report said.
Belief based on culture and tradition
According to the latest official figures, out of a population estimated at 24.4 million
©Book News: Cardinal Pietro Paroli in visit at the Akamasoa City in January 2017
2016, 52% of Malagasy adhere to indigenous beliefs, based on culture and tradition. 41% of the Malagasy adhere to Christianity and 7% are Muslims, including Sunnis. Muslims have seen growth recently, and this figure may be undervalued. The four main Christian groups on the Big Island are the Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and FJKMs who make up the Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches of Madagascar or FFKM. Smaller groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and other more minority Christian groups.