Comoros is an African country comprised by islands located between the mainland African Coast and the island nation of Madagascar. The major Comoros Islands are Moheli, Grande Comore, Mayotte, and Anjouan, along with other smaller islets. However, Mayotte is still governed by France after voting against independence. Sunni Islam dominates daily life and culture in Comoros, with Roman Catholic Christians being the largest minority faith.
98% of the total population in Comoros adheres to Sunni Islam. Islam in the Comoros was introduced by the Arab merchants and Shirazi Princes exiled from Persia. The ruling families consequently adopted the religion and facilitated the building of mosques which are plenty in Comoros today. The French did not attempt to change the religion during colonization, and it remained deeply ingrained in Comorans’ ways of living. The Constitution of Comoros recognizes Islam as the official religion, and all public policies must adhere to Islamic values. Children in Comoros attend Quranic Schools for two or three years, where they are taught the basics of the Arabic language and Islam. Comorans adhere to Sunni Islam religious practices including observing all the holidays.
Roman Catholics make up the largest minority religious group in Comoros. Adherents of the religion form a small part of the population at less than 1% of the total population. There are only two Roman Catholic churches in Comoros. There is no diocese of Roman Catholic in the country. Although the Constitution of Comoros allows for freedom of worship, open practice of other religions is prohibited which has largely stood in the way of building more Roman Catholic Churches.
Hinduism is practiced by less than 1% of the total population in Comoros. Hinduism was introduced to the Islands by Indian immigrants. A majority of the Indians are part of the overall working population. Hinduism, however, has a negligible influence on the culture in Comoros.
Apart from Sunni Islam, Shia Islam is practiced by a small number of Comorans. While relations between the two branches of Islam are not openly hostile, there exists some level of tension. Propagation of Shia doctrine is however curtailed, and Shia Muslims are forced to practice their beliefs in small groups. Shia Muslims have been detained by the government because of propagation of the Shia faith.
Alongside the Roman Catholic Christians are a smaller group of Protestant Christians, which make up less than 1% of the total population. Open practice of Christianity is prohibited, and Comoros has been on the World Watch list for the past 22 years for the persecution of Christians. Christians are denied permits to build churches and are prohibited from distributing religious materials such as the Bible. Defecting from Islam to Christianity is met with persecution from the government. Societal pressure from the majority of Muslims in Comoros acts a hindrance for Protestant Christians to practice their faith. Home churches are rigorously monitored to curb any attempt to convert to Christianity.
Islamic radicalism has been gaining ground in Comoros, and an increasing number of conservative Muslims are pushing for Comoros to be an Islamic State. For now, the future of religion in Comoros appears to be firmly entrenched in Sunni Islam.