Article 25 of the constitution protects the rights of citizens to practice any religion that they choose.
In December 2015, Reuters reported that the Gambia was declared to be an Islamic state by the country’s president, Yahya Jammeh. Islam is practised by 90% of the country’s population.
The majority of the Muslims in the Gambia adhere to Sunni laws and traditions while large concentrations follow the Ahmadiyya tradition.
Virtually all commercial life in the Gambia comes to a standstill during major Muslim holidays, including Eid al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr.
Most Muslims in Gambia follow the Maliki schools of jurisprudence. Also a Shiite Muslim community exists in the Gambia, mainly from Lebanese and other Arab immigrants to the region.
The Christian community represents about 9% of the population. Residing in the western and the southern parts of the Gambia, most of the Christian community identifies themselves as Roman Catholic.
However, smaller Christian groups are present, such as Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and small evangelical denominations.
The remaining 1% of the population adheres to indigenous beliefs such as the Serer religion. Serer religion encompasses cosmology and a belief in a supreme deity called Roog.
Some of its religious festivals include the Xoy, Mbosseh, and Randou Rande. Each year, adherents to Serer religion make the annual pilgrimage to Sine in Senegal for the Xoy divination ceremony.
Serer religion also has a rather significant imprint on Senegambian Muslim society in that all Senegambian Muslim festivals such as “Tobaski”, “Gamo”, “Koriteh” and “Weri Kor” are loanwords from the Serer religion as they were ancient Serer festivals.
Like the Serers, the Jola people also have their own religious customs. One of the major religious ceremonies of the Jolas is the Boukout.
Due to immigration from South Asia, Buddhists, Hindus and followers of the Bahá’í Faith are present.