Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 474,764 square miles and a population of 12 million. Muslims comprise an estimated 90 percent of the population; the vast majority of Muslims are Sunni. Approximately 5 percent of the population is Christian; the Christian community is roughly two-thirds Catholic and one-third Protestant. The remaining 5 percent practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs or no religion. Most immigrants come from neighboring countries and either practice Sunni Islam or belong to a Christian denomination. The majority of citizens practice their religion daily.
Christian communities tend to be located in and around urban areas, generally in the southern regions. Groups that practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs reside throughout the country, but they are most active in rural areas.
The Muslim community in general is tolerant and respectful of minority religious groups. There are several mosques associated with the fundamentalist group Dawa al Tabligh; however, their influence appears to have declined in recent years. The Wahhabi movement, which has existed in the country since the 1940s and 50s, is evident throughout the country, although, as with other forms of Islam in the country, it is not as exclusionary as practiced in other countries.
Note: The World Christian Database (WCD) estimates, used in the Religious Adherents section above, count each person as belonging to a maximum of one religious group. For more information, see the WCD methodology document. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom report estimates, used in the Religious Demography section, use less restrictive criteria in which a person who identifies with more than one religion is classified as a follower of each. In certain cases (such as Japan and other nations with strong folk religion traditions), this can cause counts to vary widely between estimates. Users are advised to consult the relevant source documents before determining which counts to cite.
1. The World Christian Database (WCD) is based on the 2600-page award-winning World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends, first published in 1982 and revised in 2001. This extensive work on World religion is now completely updated and integrated into the WCD online database. Designed for both the casual user and research scholar, information is readily available on religious activities, growth rates, religious literature, worker activity, and demographic statistics. Additional secular data is incorporated on population, health, education, and communications. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
2. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.