Mali International Religious Freedom Report 2015

The constitution prohibits religious discrimination and grants individuals freedom of religion in conformity with the law. The law criminalizes abuses against religious freedom. Terrorist groups espoused violence and launched attacks in the name of an extremist interpretation of Islam against civilians, security forces, peacekeepers, and others they reportedly perceived as not adhering to their religious beliefs. A November 20 assault later claimed by al-Murabitoun, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front (FLM) killed 19 civilians at the Radisson Hotel in Bamako. Perpetrators reportedly spared victims who could recite passages from the Quran. Although Ministry of Justice officials stated resources were inadequate, the government continued efforts to investigate abuses carried out by violent extremist groups.

Muslim and non-Muslim religious leaders frequently and jointly condemned extremist interpretations of sharia. In January religious leaders, including Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics, travelled to France to condemn violent interpretations of Islamic law, jointly called for peace among all, and organized national prayers for peace.

The U.S. Ambassador and embassy representatives conveyed messages of religious tolerance to government leaders in private and, along with civil society interlocutors, in speeches, at embassy-hosted interfaith events, and at other events. The U.S. embassy supported training programs to promote religious tolerance and counter violent extremist messaging, and discussed religious freedom with religious leaders, human rights organizations, and civil society throughout the year. For example, the U.S. embassy paid for and organized a visit by an imam from a U.S. university during Ramadan to conduct workshops and deliver speeches about tolerance and Islam.