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Muslims in Laos


Muslims are a small minority in this Buddhist majority country and constitute about 0.01% of the population. Muslims are visible in the capital, Vientiane, that also has a Jama Masjid.

The Muslim population is mostly engaged in trade and manage meat shops. A small community of Cham Muslims from Cambodia who escaped the Khmer Rouge is also found. Muslims live primarily in urban areas.

Bahá'í Faith in Laos


The Bahá'í Faith in Laos begins after a brief mention by `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1916 and the first Bahá'í enters Laos in about 1955. The first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly is known to be first elected by 1958 in Vientiane and eventually Laos' own National Spiritual Assembly is first elected in 1967. The current community is approximately eight thousand adherents and four centers: Vientiane, Vientiane Province, Kaysone Phomvihane, and in Pakxe. and smaller populations in other provinces. While well established and able to function as communities in these cities Bahá'ís have a harder time in other provinces and cannot print their own religious materials.

Christianity in Laos


Christianity is a minority religion in Laos. There has been imprisonment of persons due to their Christian faith in 2006. There are three recognized Churches in Laos: the Lao Evangelical Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Roman Catholic Church.


Approximately 400 Protestant congregations conduct services throughout the country for a community that has grown rapidly in the past decade. Church officials estimate Protestants to number as many as 100,000.

Many Protestants are members of ethnic Mon-Khmer groups, especially the Khmu in the north and the Brou in the central provinces. Numbers of Protestants also have expanded rapidly in the Hmong and Yao communities. In urban areas, Protestantism has attracted many lowland Lao followers. Most Protestants are concentrated in Vientiane Municipality, in the provinces of Vientiane, Sayaboury, Luang Prabang, Xieng Khouang, Bolikhamsai, Savannakhet, Champassak, and Attapeu, as well as in the former Saisomboun Special Zone, but smaller congregations are located throughout the country.

Animism in Laos


Despite the importance of Buddhism to Lao Loum and some Lao Theung groups, animist beliefs are widespread among all segments of the Lao population. The belief in phi (spirits) colors the relationships of many Lao with nature and community and provides one explanation for illness and disease. Belief in phi is blended with Buddhism, particularly at the village level, and some monks are respected as having particular abilities to exorcise malevolent spirits from a sick person or to keep them out of a house. Many wat have a small spirit hut built in one corner of the grounds that is associated with the phi khoun wat, the beneficent spirit of the monastery.

Buddhism in Laos


Buddhism was the state religion of the Kingdom of Laos, and the organization of the Buddhist community of monks and novices, the clergy (sangha), paralleled the political hierarchy. The faith was introduced beginning in the eighth century by Mon Buddhist monks and was widespread by the fourteenth century. A number of Laotian kings were important patrons of Buddhism. Virtually all lowland Lao were Buddhists in the early 1990s, as well as some Lao Theung who have assimilated to lowland culture. Since 1975 the communist government has not opposed Buddhism but rather has attempted to manipulate it to support political goals, and with some success. Increased prosperity and a relaxation of political control stimulated a revival of popular Buddhist practices in the early 1990s.

Freedom of religion in Laos


The Constitution provides for freedom of religion; however, the Government restricted this right in practice. Some government officials committed abuses of citizens' religious freedom.

During the period covered by this report, the overall status of respect for religious freedom did not significantly change. While respect for non-Protestant groups appeared to improve slightly, respect for Protestant groups appeared to decline in several parts of the country. In most areas, officials generally respected the constitutionally guaranteed rights of members of most faiths to worship, albeit within strict constraints imposed by the Government. Authorities in some areas continued to display intolerance for minority religious practice especially by Protestant Christians. The Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC), a popular front organization for the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP), was responsible for oversight of religious practice. The Prime Minister's Decree on Religious Practice (Decree 92) was the principal legal instrument defining rules for religious practice. Decree 92 also institutionalized the Government's role as the final arbiter of permissible religious activities. Although this decree has contributed to greater religious tolerance since it was promulgated in 2002, authorities have increasingly used its many conditions to restrict some aspects of religious practice.

Religion in Laos


Laos has an area of 5,000 square miles (220,000 km2) and a population of 6.4 million. Almost all ethnic or "lowland" Lao are followers of Theravada Buddhism; however, lowland Lao constitute only 40-50 percent of the population. The remainder of the population belongs to at least 48 distinct ethnic minority groups. Most of these ethnic minorities are practitioners of animism, with beliefs that vary greatly among groups. Animism is predominant among most Sino-Thai groups, such as the Thai Dam and Thai Daeng, as well as among Mon-Khmer and Burmo-Tibetan groups. Even among lowland Lao, many pre-Buddhist animistic religious beliefs have been incorporated into Theravada Buddhist practice. Catholics and Protestants constitute approximately 2 percent of the population. Other minority religious groups include those practicing the Bahá'í faith, Islam, Mahayana Buddhism, and Confucianism. A very small number of citizens follow no religion.

News in religion

Laos, Cambodia look to maintain good historical relationship

Google News - Thu, 2016-06-09 04:05
Sharing the same state religion, a docile way of living, and geographical links have all helped in maintaining a good relationship between Laos and Cambodia throughout their modern histories. A Cambodian diplomat and cultural expert commented as such ... catched

Laos: Deceased woman's friend pressured to recant to faith

Google News - Thu, 2014-07-03 03:28
... or belief of one's choice," CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said. "The pressure on Mrs Varn to abandon her religion is a violation of this right, which is protected by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which Laos ... catched