Religious beliefs in Brunei Darussalam
For a conservative Islamic nation, there have been no known conflicts in Brunei’s religious affairs. While being predominantly inhabited by Muslims at 67% of the total population, the rest of the population are allowed to practice their religion in peace. The other beliefs practiced are Buddhism at 13% of the population which are mainly of Chinese origins, Christianity at 11% of the population. There is also a group of people who have admitted to the government that they profess no religion at all and regarded as atheists. You can also find indigenous religions in Brunei but are limited only to about 2% of the population.
As with other Islamic nations, Islam influences the government in upholding Islamic laws. Brunei has put up a body in government just to accommodate this. They have the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) which is in charge in managing, maintaining and fully implementing Islam in every aspect of their governance. Technically, the Sultan is still the head of the Islamic faith. MORA is headed by a minister who is appointed by the Sultan. Brunei’s national religion is derived from the Shafeite sect of Islam that came from the Sunni subgroup of Malay origin. The MORA adheres to the Shafi school of Islamic law. They are considered to be strict in upholding the Islamic law as they give quite harsh penalties for those who break the Islamic rules like consuming alcohol, holding hands in public and eating pork. It is very important for the MORA to maintain the sacredness of Islam against negative influences.