Sierra Leone is a West African country with an area of 71,740 square km and a population of 7,075,641 people. The country is a secular state with the constitution granting the people of the country the freedom to practice the religion of their choice. This right is generally safeguarded by the government of the country. The constitution also forbids the establishment of any state religion in the country.
Islam is the religion of the majority in Sierra Leone. About 78% of the country’s population are Muslims. The next most popular religion is Christianity and followers of this religion account for 20.9% of the total population of the country. Other beliefs including traditional African religions have a small percentage of followers in the country.
Islam, The Most Popular Religion In Sierra Leone
Muslims in Sierra Leone are primarily Sunnis of the Maliki school. Only a small percentage of Muslims, about 8%, adhere to the Ahmadiyya sect of the religion while a still smaller percentage belong to the Shia community. The two Freetown mosques, the Ghadafi Central Mosque and the Freetown Central Mosque, are the biggest mosques in the country. At the beginning of the 18th century, Islam was spread among the Temne people of Sierra Leone by tribesmen from Guinea. Although Britain colonized the country at a later period, Christianity was not accepted by the masses in the country. After the British left and the country gained independence, Islam continued to spread in Sierra Leone and soon nearly the entire population became affiliated to the religion.
Christianity In Sierra Leone
Most of Sierra Leone’s Christians are Protestants including large populations of Evangelical Protestants and Methodists. Roman Catholics constitute about 5% of the population of the country. Other Christian denominations like Anglicans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others constitute only a small percentage of the Christian population of the country.
Other Religions In Sierra Leone
Traditional African religions, Hinduism, Baha’ism, etc., are some of the other religions practiced in the country. Hindus in Sierra Leone are primarily of South Asian descent and are usually traders. The capital city of the country has a significant Hindu population and a Hindu association.
One Of The World’s Most Tolerant Nations
Sierra Leone is known as one of the world’s most religiously tolerant nation. There is hardly any case of religious violence in the nation and both Christians and Muslims, the adherents of the two major religions in Sierra Leone, live in perfect harmony. Even during the civil war in the country, religion never acted as a reason for the war. The country even has an Inter-Religious Council that includes religious leaders of both Islam and Christianity, to promote religious tolerance and harmony in the country. Both Christian and Islamic holidays are declared as national holidays in the country and celebrated throughout the country.