Religious Beliefs and Spirituality in Guinea

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The dominant religion in the country is Islam. Approximately 85% of Guineans are Muslim, generally Sunni. The remaining population is about 10% Christians while 5% practices conventional indigenous beliefs. Some the government-recognized Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism, Anglican Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventism, and other evangelical groups. Other religions in the country are Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, and some traditional Chinese religious sects.

According to the 2005 national census made by the Guinean government, Islam is practiced by almost 85% of the population or 7.8 million. Majority of Muslims in the country are Sunnis who practice the traditions, orders and beliefs of Maliki, Qadiri, and Tijani Sufi. They follow the teachings Qur’an and the prophet Mohammed. They pray 5 times a day, expected to give alms to the needy, fast during the holy month of Ramadan, and visit at least once in their lives the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The fast islamization in the 19th and 20th centuries contributed to the Muslim population in the country. After Guinea gained independence from France in 1958 president Sékou Touré, who is a supposed Muslim Marxist, discouraged the practice of Islam. He also ordered that only Guinean nationals are permitted to serve in the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1967. In the 1970s when Touré’s popularity started to fade he appointed several Muslim institutions to legalize his rule.

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