Liberia is located on the Atlantic coast of West Africa and is bordered by the Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Liberia covers an area of 111,369 square km and houses a population of 4,503,000 people. The country has a multi-ethnic population and more than 20 indigenous languages are spoken in the country.
Religion In Liberia
Majority of the population of Liberia (85.5% of the national population) practice Christianity. Islam is the next most popular religion and Muslims account for 12.2% of the population. Only 0.5% of the population practice traditional indigenous religions while a small percentage of 1.4% do not adhere to any religious faith. Other religious groups in Liberia include the Bahá'ís, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus.
Christianity In Liberia
Christians are distributed throughout Liberia. Diverse Protestant confessions and AME Zion denominations account for the greatest percentage of Christians in the country. Non-protestant Christians including the Roman Catholics constitute only a small percentage of Liberia’s Christian population. Most of these denominations were introduced in Liberia by the freed African Americans who were relocated to Liberia by the American Colonization Society. Other denominations were introduced earlier by the European colonizers of the region. Christian missionaries helped spread the religion among Liberia’s indigenous population.
Islam In Liberia
Muslims in Liberia are the biggest religious minority. Malikite Sunnis form the bulk of the Muslim population of the country. Shia and Ahmadiyya minorities are also popular. The Mandingo and Vai ethnic groups of Liberia constitute most of the Muslim population of the country. Smaller Muslim ethnic groups are the Kpelle, Gbandi, and others. Islam was introduced in the country in the 16th century. The form of Islam practiced in the country is a liberal one that is infused with traditional beliefs and practices and is oriented towards Sufism. Islamic festivals like Ramadan, Eid el Fitr, and others are celebrated in the country every year.
Traditional Beliefs In Liberia
Despite their adherence to the major world religions, a large percentage of Liberians practice their traditional rituals and customs. Traditional beliefs include a belief in the supranational world like the spirits of the ancestors. The people believe that mysterious forces influence the affairs of the daily life. Traditional secret societies of the Sande and Poro cater to the religious, social, and cultural needs of the country’s population.