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The 2003 census reported that about 80 percent of the population of the Central African Republic are Christians. It is believed that many of these followers incorporate traditional indigenous elements into their faith practices.
Roman Catholic and Protestant missions are scattered throughout the territory. Islam is practised primarily in the north. About 31 percent of the population are Protestant, another 19 percent are Roman Catholic, Traditional indigenous beliefs are practised by about 10 percent of the population as a primary or exclusive belief system. Missionary groups within the country include Lutherans, Baptists, Grace Brethren, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The constitution (suspended since 2003) provides for freedom of religion while prohibiting certain forms of religious fundamentalism. This prohibition is generally considered to be directed toward Muslim fundamentalists. Christian holidays are celebrated as national holidays. All religious groups must be registered through the Ministry of Interior. The Unification Church has been banned since the mid-1980s. The practise of witchcraft is considered a criminal offense, however, prosecution is generally made only in conjunction with other criminal activity, such as murder.
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