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El Salvador
Saturday, 10 September 2011 03:06
Religious Freedom Ranking
3.5 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

El SalvadorThe Constitution states that citizens are equal before the law and forbids persecution based on nationality, race, gender or religion. Article 296 of the penal code inflicts criminal sentences on those who openly insult or offend the religious beliefs of other, or vandalize or destroy religious items. The Constitution also recognizes the Roman Catholic Church and states that other religious organizations may obtain legal recognition through the Office of the Director General for Nonprofit Associations and Foundations (DGFASFL) within the Ministry of Governance.


A 2007 census estimated the country has a population of 5.7 million. The main religion is Roman Catholic with Protestant Christians being the second most populous group. Other religious groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Assemblies of God, Baptists, Elim Church, Church of God, Hare Krishnas, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists. A small population practice indigenous rituals.


The government observes the following religious holidays as official holidays for the private sector: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.


Foreign missionaries must obtain a special residence visa for religious activities and proselytizing.


Public schools only offer secular education. Private religious schools may freely operate. The Ministry of Education monitors both public and private schools’ education.


There have been no reports of religious prisoners or forced religious conversions.


The Council of Religions for Peace holds leaders of the Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptists, evangelical, Islamic, Jewish and Buddhist religious groups. These leaders participate in interfaith meetings. It is reported that the president attended several different religious gatherings in order to promote interfaith understanding.



2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom on El Salvador


Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 20:20