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Monday, 23 November 2009 12:51

Religious Freedom Ranking: 3.5
3.5 stars out of 5: Needs Improvement

 

The Constitution provides for religious freedom.  The government generally respects religious freedom in practice.  However, there have been reports of foreign missionaries associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being detained.

The country has a population of 766,000.  A 2002 census estimated that approximately 57 percent of the population was Christian.  The Christian denominations include: 17 percent Pentecostal, 7 percent Anglican, 5 percent Seventh-day Adventist and 20 percent other Christian groups.  Approximately 28 percent of the population was Hindu, 7 percent was Muslim and 2 percent practiced either the Baha’i Faith of the Rastafarian Movement.  An estimated 4 percent are nonbelievers.

There is no state religion.  However, military tradition favors Christians.  The Guyana Defense Force (GDF) requires attendance at religious programs.

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Christian--Good Friday, Easter, Easter Monday, and Christmas; Hindu--Phagwah (festival welcoming spring) and Diwali (festival of lights); Islamic--You-Man-Nabi (birth of the Prophet Muhammad) and Eid Al-Adha (feast of sacrifice).

The law defends the right of individuals to choose or change their religious beliefs.  All religious groups can worship freely.

There is no formal monitoring of religious groups; however, religious groups must register with the government in order to receive official recognition.  Religious groups must obtain permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs when seeking to establish operations.

On September 2, 2009, police detained 40 foreign Mormon missionaries.  The news media reported that the government was suspicious of the church’s charity work and the missionaries reportedly close relationship with opposition figures.  They were ordered to depart from the country.

There have been no reports of forced religious conversions.

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom on Guyana

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 20:40