Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Religion in Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, the main religions that are practiced are Islam and Christianity. 38.6% of the population practices Islam, 32.6% practices Christianity, 16.7% is irreligious, and 11.9% follows Traditional African religion or other religions. [1]

“According to most local belief systems, spiritual beings—a creator, ancestral spirits, and spirits associated with places and objects—can influence a person’s life and luck.” [2] Ancestral spirits are important, especially in the northern religions, “because it is believed that they can directly influence an individual’s fortunes in this life. The cosmology of the Mande peoples of the northwest is described in their myth of origin, variants of which are retold throughout the region. The myth recounts God’s creation of the universe and of four sets of twins from seeds. They were commanded to populate the earth and teach their offspring how to grow crops.”[3]

Most people in Ivory Coast that practice Islam, are Sunni Muslims. They follow the Maliki version of Islamic law.[4] “The significant religious authority is the marabout. He is believed to be a miracle worker, a physician, and a mystic, who exercises both magical and moral authority.”[5]

“About one-eighth of the population was Christian in the 1980s; more recent estimates put the proportion of Christians at about 32.6% of the population.”[6] It is mostly practiced by people in the middle class and in urban centers of the south. Most prevalent among the Agni in the southeast, and least among the Mande of the northwest. Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian religion practiced there.[7]

Islam and Christianity have been adapted to many of the indigenous religions in Ivory Coast. “Most widely recognized among these syncretic religions are numerous offshoots of Harrism along the coast, where new prophets, preachers, and disciples blend traditional beliefs, Harrism, and modern-day political advice to help deal with the problems of everyday life.”[8] Syncretic religions are more common among minorities. There are instances where a group of people are practicing Christianity, but the neighboring group of people is practicing a syncretic religion.[9]

No comments:

Post a Comment