International Religious Freedom Report 2003
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion; due to continuing Moroccan administrative control of the territory of the Western Sahara, the laws and restrictions regarding religious organizations and religious freedom are similar to those found in the Kingdom of Morocco.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report.

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom.

The U. S. Government discusses religious freedom issues in the context of its overall dialog and policy of promoting human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The territory has a total area of approximately 102,706 square miles, and its population is approximately 245,000. The overwhelming majority of the population is Sunni Muslim.

There is a tiny foreign community working for the United Nations Interposition Force in the territory (known by its French acronym, MINURSO).

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion; due to continuing Moroccan administrative control of the territory of the Western Sahara, laws and restrictions regarding religious organizations and religious freedom are similar to those found in the kingdom of Morocco.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Restrictions on religious freedom in the Western Sahara are similar to those found in Morocco.

There were no reports of religious detainees or prisoners.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Section III. Societal Attitudes

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Embassy in Morocco, discusses religious freedom issues in the context of its overall dialog and policy of promoting human rights.

[This is a mobile copy of Western Sahara]