AD339: Religion in Africa: Tolerance and trust in leaders are high, but many would allow regulation of religious speech

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Brian Howard

Africans overwhelmingly identify with a religious faith, trust their religious leaders, and express tolerance of people of other faiths, a new Afrobarometer analysis shows. Nonetheless, in most countries a majority of Africans favour civil over religious law as the basis for government (though Niger, Morocco, and Sudan are exceptions). And nearly half say government should have the power to regulate religious speech in the name of public safety.

Findings from national surveys in 34 African countries show religious affiliation as well as tolerance for other religions are cross-cutting characteristics of African publics – majorities in all countries claim a religious affiliation and profess tolerance for those of other faiths.

Religious leaders are more trusted and less widely seen as corrupt than any other group of public leaders, although both of these positive perceptions have weakened somewhat since the previous survey round.