Encyclopedia of Law and Religion

Get access Subject: Law

Edited by: Gerhard Robbers and W. Cole Durham

In recent years, issues of freedom of religion or belief and state-religion relations have become increasingly important worldwide. The Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, unique in its breadth and global coverage, provides an important foundational resource for study of these issues. The encyclopedia covers the relation between law and religion in its various aspects, including those related to the role of religion in society, the relations between religion and state institutions, freedom of religion, legal aspects of religious traditions, the interaction between law and religion, and other issues at the junction of law, religion, and state.

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Macau

(2,537 words)

Author(s): Charles Ladbrooke and Others
I. Social Facts  Macau, located on a peninsula off China’s southern Guangdong province, has a population of approximately 607,500. Macau, like Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. The majority of the population is ethnically Chinese (92.4%), with a small percentage of Portuguese (0.6%), mixed (1.1%), and other (5.9%), which includes the unique ethnicity Macanese for those of Portuguese and Asian ancestry. Government estimates place Macau’s Buddhist population at 50-80% of the total population. About 30,000 Roman Cathol…

Macedonia

(4,982 words)

Author(s): Zorica Angelovska-Kovachevikj | Leilani D. Maldonado
I. Social Facts The Republic of Macedonia is located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, covering an area of 25,713 square kilometers. The country is bordered by Serbia and Kosovo to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. The official language used throughout the Republic is Macedonian, which belongs to the group of South Slavic languages. In municipalities with a population of more than 20% from a non-Macedonian ethnic group, the language of that ethnic group is also an official language. According to the 2002 census, the Republic of M…

Madagascar

(3,420 words)

Author(s): Sanaty Mohamed
I. Social Facts In Madagascar, religious groups are presently expanding. The whole population claims to be believers. The major churches are the Christian churches, divided into many branches. The most significant ones are the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformed Church locally called the Fiangonan’ i Jesosy Kristy eto Madagasikara (The Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar) (FJKM), the Lutheran Church, and the Anglican Church. There are also various small Protestant churches spread all over the country such as the Evangelical Church, the Orthodox Church, the Pentecostal Church, Jes…

Malawi

(2,256 words)

Author(s): Mwiza Jo Nkhata
I. Social Facts The population of Malawi is estimated at about 13,029,498, according to the 2009 Malawi Population and Housing Census. It is further estimated that of this population 82% are Christians. Within the Christian denominations, the largest are the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian (Church of Central Africa Presbyteri…

Malaysia

(8,239 words)

Author(s): Mohammad Hashim Kamali
I. Social Facts  Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society with a population of 28.3 million, and no fewer than 178 ethnic groups, of which in the 2010 census the total Muslim portion stood at 61.3%, showing an increase from 53.6% in 1980. All Malays and a small number of Indians are Muslim. Buddhists account for 19.8% of the population, showing a decrease from a higher figure of 28% 30 years earlier, and Christians are at 9.2%, up from 6.4% in 1980. Most of the 6.3% of Malaysian India…

Maldives

(2,541 words)

Author(s): Jan Niklas Klein
I. Social Facts The Republic of the Maldives is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea area. I…

Mali

(9,261 words)

Author(s): Eloi Diarra
I. Social Facts The statistics concerning Mali are far from precise. As of 1 January 2014, it was estimated that there were approximately 16 million inhabitants in this country of more than 1.24 million square kilometers. Of the whole population, 90% is Muslim, 8% is animist (the traditional African religion), and 2% is Christian. Atheists or unbelievers do not exist in Mali. Of the Christians in the country, 80% are Catholic and 20% are Protestant. According to some statistics, there are 414,000 Christians, ne…

Malta

(3,201 words)

Author(s): Ugo Mifsud Bonnici | Leilani D. Maldonado
I. Social Facts The Republic of Malta is an archipelago comprised of the islands of Malta, Gozo, Comino, and a number of smaller uninhabited islets. Maltese is the primary language and is used by nearly all of the population. English is also an official language and is widely spoken as a second language. Italian and French are commonly spoken as well. The Constitution of 1964 declares the Roman Catholic religion as the official religion of Malta. Malta is one of the most Catholic countries in the world and has one of the highest rates of church attendance, although a steady decrease in church attendance, especially among the young, points to a changing culture. In 1967, weekly Mass enjoyed an 82% attendance rate, which dropped to 73% in 1982, then to 52% in 2005. Despite the declining numbers, however, the culture remains very much Roman Catholic.…

Marshall Islands

(2,841 words)

Author(s): Bill Atkin | Sean K. Brennan
I. Social Facts The Marshall Islands are divided into two parallel lines of low-lying atolls and islands located in the North Pacific Ocean: the Ralik Chain and the Ratik Chain. The number of islets and islands totals approximately 1,225 with a combined land mass of 181 sq. km. The population, estimated to be over 55,000, is spread across 24 separate islands, the most populated being Majuro which also serves as the capital. Christianity dominates the religious demographics. The United Church of Christ (formerly Congregational) is the largest with 51% of the population, followed by the Assemblies of God (24%), the Roman Catholic Church (8.4%), and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (8.3%). The remainder is predominantly from other Christian denominations including Baptist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists. However, there are also very small populations of Bahá’í Faith, Jews, and Ahmadiyya Muslims. The first mosque was opened in September 2012. II. Historical Backgro…

Martinique

(9 words)

Author(s): not-specified
See France. Not Specified Bibliography  

Mauritania

(3,291 words)

Author(s): Lauren Robins
I. Social Facts The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is located in the western part of North Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. Mauritania is officially entirely Muslim, though a small part of the population, most of foreign nationality, are Catholic or non-denominational Christian. Fewer than 5,000 Catholics worship in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nouakchott, which was founded in the 1960s. The few practicing Jews in Mauritania do not have a synagogue or temple. The vast majority of Mauritania’s Muslims are Sunnis of the Mali…

Mauritius

(2,644 words)

Author(s): Ashwanee Budoo
I. Social Facts The Republic of Mauritius has a population of about 1.2 million, which includes the inhabitants of the islands of Mauritius, …

Mayotte

(9 words)

Author(s): not-specified
See France. Not Specified Bibliography  

Mexico

(11,073 words)

Author(s): Alberto Patiño Reyes
I. Social Facts At present, the majority of the Mexican population consider themselves to be religious. Mexican religiousness is not a recent fashion or an invention; it is a dimension of Mexican personal and historical identity. Historically, the Catholic Church was the religion of virtually the entire population of the country. The majority of the population is still Catholic, although during the last two decades a constant decrease in the percentage of Mexicans who identify as Catholics has been…