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International Religious Freedom Report 2009 ~ Brunei

October 27, 2009

The US Embassy in Brunei has released the International Religious Report 2009. Of interest, there is a Brunei report starting off with what the Brunei’s Constitution states on religion: “The religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be the Muslim religion according to the Shafi’i sect of that religion: Provided that all other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony by the person professing them in any part of Brunei Darussalam.”

I am picking up stats and info from the report. During the reporting period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009:

  • Brunei’s population is 380,000. The population includes –
    197,260 (or almost 52%) are Muslims;
    16,215 (4%) are Buddhists (Buddhism is the second largest religious belief in Brunei);
    6,884 (1.8%) Christians;
    712 (0.2%) are Roman Catholics;
    242 (0.06%) Hindus;
    72 (0.02%) Baha’is;
    34 (0.009%) atheists;
    40 (0.01%) Taoists;
    33 (0.008%) Sikhs;
    7 (0.001%) Nasrani;
    53 (0.013%) of other religious groups; and
    16,916 (4.45%) did not state their religious preference.
  • There are 101 mosques and Muslim prayer halls, seven Christian churches, three Chinese temples, and one Hindu temple officially registered in the country.
  • The following religious holidays as national holidays: Chinese New Year, Christmas Day, Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid ul-Fitr), Hari Raya Aidil Adha (Eid ul-Adha), First Day of Ramadhan (Ramadan), First Day of the Muharram (Islamic Calendar), Isra Mikraj (Isra Me’raj), the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday, and Nuzul Al-Quraan (Revelation of the Quran).
  • Several religious groups were banned that are considered deviant, including Al-Arqam, Abdul Razak Mohammad, Al-Ma’unah, Saihoni Taispan, the Baha’i faith, Tariqat Mufarridiyyah, Silat Lintau, and Qadiyaniah.
  • There were 54 khalwat (close proximity between sexes) cases.
  • 369 conversions to Islam.

The report said that the Brunei Government categorizes Catholics as distinct from other Christians. There is also an indigenous population that adheres to traditional beliefs, although they often convert either to Islam or Christianity.

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