Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa, a 19-country survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, reveals that the vast majority of people in many sub-Saharan African nations are deeply committed to Christianity or Islam, and yet many continue to practice elements of traditional African religions. And while many Muslims and Christians describe members of the other faith as tolerant and honest, there are clear signs of tensions and divisions between the faiths. The survey, conducted with generous funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation, is based on more than 25,000 face-to-face interviews in more than 60 languages or dialects in 19 countries, representing 75% of the total population of sub-Saharan Africa. This report is part of a larger effort – the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project – that analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world.
Explore the report using the resources below.
Full Report Explore the preface, executive summary, report chapters and appendices.
Interactive Database Delve into public opinion on various religion-related topics.
Press Release (Available in English (PDF), Français (PDF) & Português (PDF))
Press Conference Call
Audio Recording Listen to Pew Forum experts discuss the new survey during an April 15 press conference call.
Transcript Peruse the written transcript of the conference call.
Executive Summary (Available in English, Français& Português)
Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation
Chapter 2: Commitment to Christianity and Islam
Chapter 3: Traditional African Religious Beliefs and Practices
Chapter 4: Interreligious Harmony and Tensions
Chapter 5: Religion and Society
Appendix A: Glossary of Terms
Appendix B: Religious Demography
Appendix C: Survey Methodology
Appendix D: Topline: Questionnaire and Survey Results
Download the graphics and charts created for this report in a .zip file.
africa-resource-graphics.zip (1.75MB 14 charts)
Selected Press Coverage
April 15, 2010 – BBC News
April 15, 2010 – CNN.com
April 15, 2010 –The Economist
April 15, 2010 – The Associated Press
April 15, 2010 – BBC News
April 15, 2010 – Voice of America
Survey finds one-quarter of Africans fear religious conflict
April 15, 2010 – Foreign Policy
April 15, 2010 – Ghana Today
April 15, 2010 – Religion News Service
April 15, 2010 – PoliticsDaily.com
Christian and Muslim beliefs in Africa: Lessons for U.S. foreign policy
April 15, 2010 – Religion News Blog
April 16, 2010 – The Washington Times
April 16, 2010 – The Christian Post
April 16, 2010 – Daily Nation
April 20, 2010 – Uganda Daily Monitor
Photo credit: Sebastien Desarmaux/GODONG/Godong/Corbis
Part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project