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Religion in Tonga: Wikis


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Saione, the church of the King, a Free Wesleyan Church in Kolomotuʻa, Tonga

According to the last official census in 1996, 41% of the population of Tonga belonged to the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, 16% to the Roman Catholic Church, 14% to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 12% to the Free Church of Tonga, 17% to other groups.[1] However, both Roman Catholics and Mormons state that the number of their adherents is higher than reported, and a 2006 survey conducted by the Free Wesleyan Church revealed its membership comprised only 35 percent of the population.[1] The Tokaikolo Church (a local offshoot of the Methodist Church), Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God, Anglicans are also present.[1] Other than Christian denominations the next largest religion is of the Baha'i Faith.[2] Islam, and Hinduism have small numbers of adherents.[1]

The Bahá'í Faith in Tonga started after being set as a goal to introduce the religion in 1953,[3] and Bahá'ís arrived in 1954.[4] With conversions and pioneers the first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in 1958.[5] Less than forty years later, in 1996, the Bahá'ís of Tonga established their paramount Bahá'í school in the form of the Ocean of Light International School.[6] Around 2004 there were 29 local spiritual assemblies[4] and about 5% of the national population were members of the Bahá'í Faith though the Tonga Broadcasting Commission maintained a policy that does not allow discussions by members of the Bahá'í Faith of its founder, Bahá'u'lláh on its radio broadcasts.[7]

Foreign missionaries are active in the country and operate freely.[1]

The Constitution of Tonga provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice.[1] The US government found that there were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tonga. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Tonga Facts and Figures". Encarta. Online. Microsoft. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-15.  
  3. ^ Hassall, Graham (1992), "Pacific Baha'i Communities 1950-1964", in H. Rubinstein, Donald, Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference, University of Guam Press & Micronesian Area Research Center, Guam, pp. pp.73–95,  
  4. ^ a b Tuitahi, Sione; Bolouri, Sohrab (2004-01-28), "Tongan Baha'is parade to the palace", Bahá'í World News Service,  
  5. ^ Hassall, Graham (1996), "Baha'i Faith in the Asia Pacific Issues and Prospects", Bahá'í Studies Review 6: pp. 1–10,  
  6. ^ Bahá'í International Community (2006-07-17), "Ocean of Light School celebrates 10th anniversary", Bahá'í World News Service,  
  7. ^ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (2006-09-15). "International Religious Freedom Report - Tonga". United States State Department. Retrieved 2008-09-15.  


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