- More than nine in 10 Africans (95%) identify with a religion. A majority say they are Christians (56%), while one in three (34%) self-identify as Muslim, although of course these proportions vary widely by country
- On average across 34 countries, three in 10 Africans say they are leaders (6%) or active members (24%) of religious groups that meet outside of regular worship services. Liberians (58%), Kenyans (56%), and Zambians (55%) are most likely to say they are active in religious groups, while predominantly Muslim countries such as Tunisia (2%) and Morocco (2%) are least likely to report membership in religious groups outside of regular worship
- Religious leaders are more widely trusted and less widely seen as corrupt than any other group of public leaders. However, both of these positive perceptions have weakened somewhat since the previous survey round
- Africans are evenly divided on whether the government should have the right to limit religious freedom in the name of public safety. About half (49%) believe in absolute freedom of religion and would deny their government the power to regulate what is said in a place of worship, while about the same proportion (47%) say the government should be able to regulate religious speech, especially if it threatens public security. Some countries that have experienced extremist violence register below-average levels of support for freedom of religious speech, including Tunisia (21%), Mali (23%), Cameroon (34%), Burkina Faso (39%), and Niger (42%)
- About one in 10 citizens in Nigeria (11%), Burkina Faso (10%), Niger (9%), and Cameroon (9%) say they personally experienced violence by political or religious extremists during the two years preceding the survey. Almost four times as many say they feared but didn’t experience such violence in Burkina Faso (39%) and Mali (37%)
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.