Tuvalu is an island nation in Polynesia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu covers an area of only 26 square km and had a population of 10,640 in 2012. The majority of the country’s residents are of Polynesian origin, while only 5.6% of the population are of Micronesian descent. Most of Tuvalu’s residents (97%) are Christians. In particular, these Tuvaluans are members of the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu, which is sometimes referred to simply as the Church of Tuvalu.
The Most Popular Religion in Tuvalu
Christianity is the predominant religion in Tuvalu. In particular, 94% of Tuvalu's population are Protestant Christians. More than 91% of Protestant Christians in Tuvalu are members of the Church of Tuvalu, 3% are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and about 4.6% belong to the Brethren Church. There is also a small population of Roman Catholics in Tuvalu. The Church of Tuvalu, which is the country’s state church, performs services on important national events and festivals. Each of the country's islands have alikis, who are traditional chiefs and members of the Church of Tuvalu. They are responsible for overseeing church duties on their respective islands. A new Christian group named the Tuvalu Brethren Church has about 500 adherents throughout the country.
Other Religions in Tuvalu
Tuvalu also has small populations of adherents of Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and other religions. Most adherents of these religions live in or near the capital city of Funafuti. However, Nanumea Island has a significant population of adherents of the Bahá'í Faith, who account for 3% of Tuvalu's population. There are also Muslim and atheist populations in Tuvalu. Approximately 50 Ahmadiyya Muslims live in the country.
Religious Freedom and Tolerance in Tuvalu
Tuvalu’s constitution allows its citizens to practice the religion of their choice. Citizens are also allowed to convert to another religion by their own will, and forced conversions or discrimination on the basis of religion is not permitted. Religious education is not offered in Tuvalu’s schools.
Some cases of religious discrimination have occurred in Tuvalu, but were dealt with through the country’s legal system. The government of Tuvalu generally respects its citizens rights and freedoms regarding religion as outlined in the constitution. The act of proselytizing is allowed in Tuvalu as long as it does not violate the freedom of others to convert at their own will.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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