Religious beliefs in Madagascar
Majority of the Malagasy population still practice traditional religion with about 50% believing in the connections between the living and the dead especially the Merina in the highlands. The belief is that, the dead unite with their ancestors and that ancestors are deeply concerned with what is happening with their living descendants.
Approximately 45% belongs to Christianity, most of which are Catholics and Protestants. Christian Churches hold significant roles in the society and have influences in politics. The Malagasy Council of Churches (FFKM) comprises of the 4 oldest and most important Christian denominations – Roman Catholic, Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, Lutheran, and Anglican). The Catholic Church in Madagascar is a constituent of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church and is under the spiritual guidance of the Pope and curia in Rome. Total number of Catholics is roughly 4 million.
Islam is also widely observed with 1.2 million Muslims in the country or about 7% of the population. The Muslim population is mostly located in the provinces of Mahajanga and Antsiranana with different ethnicities – Indians, Comorians, and Pakistanis. There had been a significant increased in number of mosques in the past years specifically in the southeast region. Islam was first brought in the country in the 10th century.