According to 2003 national census, 80.3% of population was Christian 51.4% Protestant and 28.9% Roman Catholic and 15% is Muslim. Indigenous belief (animism) is also practiced, and many indigenous beliefs are incorporated into Christian and Islamic practice.
A UN director described religious tensions between Muslims and Christians as being high.
The CIA World Factbook reports that approximately 50 percent of the population of CAR are Christians (Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%), while 35% of the population maintain indigenous beliefs and 15% practice Islam.
There are many missionary groups operating in the country, including Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics, Grace Brethren, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. While these missionaries are predominantly from the United States, France, Italy, and Spain, many are also from Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other African countries.
Large numbers of missionaries left the country when fighting broke out between rebel and government forces in 2002–3, but many of them have now returned to continue their work.
According to Overseas Development Institute research, during the crisis ongoing since 2012, religious leaders have mediated between communities and armed groups; they also provided refuge for people seeking shelter.