Is Kiribati a Muslim country?

Is Kiribati a Muslim country?

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Kiribati and its religious demographics. Kiribati, a sovereign island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean, is known for its unique culture, stunning natural beauty, and welcoming people. In this article, we aim to address a frequently asked question: Is Kiribati a Muslim country? Join us as we delve into the religious landscape of Kiribati and explore the various faiths practiced by its inhabitants. Whether you’re planning a trip or simply curious about the religious diversity of this fascinating country, we’ve got you covered. Let’s begin the exploration!

History of Kiribati

Colonial era

Kiribati, a Pacific island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean, has a rich and interesting history. Like many other Pacific islands, Kiribati was also colonized by European powers during the colonial era.

The first European contact with Kiribati occurred in the 16th century when Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira arrived on the islands. However, it was not until the 19th century that the islands were formally colonized.

During the colonial era, Kiribati was divided between various European powers. The Gilbert Islands, which form a significant part of present-day Kiribati, were under British colonial rule. The British established their presence in the region primarily for strategic purposes and to exploit the copra industry.

Under British colonial rule, Kiribati experienced significant changes in its social, economic, and political structures. The British introduced various administrative systems and implemented policies that heavily impacted the lives of the local population. The introduction of Christianity, education, and Western cultural influences were also notable aspects of the colonial era in Kiribati.

Independence from colonial rule

Kiribati’s journey towards independence began in the mid-20th century. The Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, which included what is now Kiribati and Tuvalu, sought self-governance and ultimately independence from British colonial rule.

In 1975, the Ellice Islands separated from the Gilbert Islands to form the independent nation of Tuvalu. This move allowed the Gilbert Islands to focus on their own path towards independence. On July 12, 1979, Kiribati officially gained independence from British colonial rule and became a sovereign nation.

The independence of Kiribati marked a significant turning point in the country’s history. It allowed the people of Kiribati to shape their own destiny and establish their own political and social systems. Since independence, Kiribati has faced various challenges, including environmental issues due to rising sea levels, but has also made strides in areas such as economic development and cultural preservation.

In conclusion, the history of Kiribati encompasses a colonial era when European powers exerted influence over the islands, followed by a struggle for independence and the eventual establishment of the nation as we know it today. Understanding this historical context is crucial in comprehending the unique cultural and social aspects of Kiribati.

Religion in Kiribati

Traditional beliefs

Kiribati, an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean, has a rich cultural heritage that includes traditional beliefs. The majority of the population in Kiribati follows a unique blend of Christianity and traditional beliefs. These traditional beliefs are deeply rooted in the history and customs of the indigenous people of Kiribati.

One prominent aspect of traditional beliefs in Kiribati is the concept of mana, which refers to a spiritual power or energy that is believed to exist in all living and non-living things. This belief in mana is closely tied to the reverence for nature and the environment that is prevalent in Kiribati. The people of Kiribati believe that their ancestors and spirits inhabit the natural world, and they often engage in rituals and ceremonies to honor and communicate with them.

Christianity in Kiribati

Christianity has a significant presence in Kiribati, with the majority of the population identifying as Christian. The introduction of Christianity to Kiribati dates back to the 19th century when European missionaries arrived in the islands. Today, the two main Christian denominations in Kiribati are the Roman Catholic Church and the Kiribati Protestant Church.

The Roman Catholic Church holds a strong influence in Kiribati, with many communities having a Catholic church as a central gathering place. The Kiribati Protestant Church, on the other hand, follows a more evangelical approach to Christianity and has a large following as well. Both of these Christian denominations play a vital role in shaping the religious and cultural fabric of Kiribati.

Minority religions

While Christianity is the dominant religion in Kiribati, there are also minority religions present in the country. One notable minority religion in Kiribati is Islam. Although the Muslim population in Kiribati is relatively small, there are individuals and families who practice Islam and identify as Muslims. However, it is important to note that Kiribati is not considered a Muslim country, as the majority of the population adheres to Christianity.

Additionally, there are also small communities of other minority religions in Kiribati, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. These communities, although relatively small in number, contribute to the religious diversity of Kiribati.

In conclusion, Kiribati is a country with a diverse religious landscape. Traditional beliefs, Christianity, and minority religions coexist in this island nation, creating a unique and culturally rich religious tapestry. While traditional beliefs and Christianity hold the majority, the presence of minority religions showcases the acceptance and tolerance that is characteristic of Kiribati’s society.

Islam in Kiribati

Muslim population in Kiribati

Kiribati is not a predominantly Muslim country. The majority of the population in Kiribati follows Christianity as their main religion. Islam, however, does have a presence in the country, albeit in a minority capacity.

The Muslim population in Kiribati is relatively small compared to other religious groups. According to the latest available data, only a very small percentage of the total population identifies as Muslim. While the exact numbers are not widely reported, it is estimated that Muslims make up less than 1% of the population in Kiribati.

Islamic organizations in Kiribati

Despite the small Muslim population, there are a few Islamic organizations present in Kiribati. These organizations aim to provide support and services to the Muslim community in the country.

One prominent Islamic organization in Kiribati is the Islamic Society of Kiribati. This organization plays a vital role in promoting Islamic teachings and values within the Muslim community. They organize religious gatherings, provide educational resources, and facilitate community outreach programs.

Another notable Islamic organization in Kiribati is the Kiribati Islamic Center. This center serves as a mosque and a gathering place for Muslims in the country. It offers regular prayer services, religious education classes, and various community events to foster a sense of unity among the Muslim population.

In conclusion, while Kiribati is not a Muslim country, there is a small Muslim population living in the country. Islamic organizations such as the Islamic Society of Kiribati and the Kiribati Islamic Center play crucial roles in supporting the Muslim community and promoting Islamic teachings within Kiribati.

Misconceptions and controversies

Misconception: Kiribati is a Muslim country

There is a common misconception that Kiribati is a Muslim country. However, this is not true. Kiribati is actually a predominantly Christian nation, with Christianity being the main religion followed by the majority of the population.

The misconception may arise due to the fact that Islam is one of the world’s major religions, and people often assume that every country must have a dominant Muslim population. However, it is essential to understand that religious diversity exists globally, and not every nation follows the same faith.

Kiribati, located in the Pacific Ocean, has a rich cultural heritage deeply rooted in Christianity. The majority of the population in Kiribati practices Protestantism, particularly the Kiribati Uniting Church. The influence of Christianity can be seen in various aspects of Kiribati’s society, including its customs, traditions, and even government policies.

Controversies surrounding religious diversity

While Kiribati may not be a Muslim country, it does have a diverse religious landscape. Besides Christianity, there are other minority religious communities in Kiribati, including the Baha’i Faith, Roman Catholicism, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

The presence of multiple religious groups in Kiribati has led to some controversies and debates regarding religious diversity. As with any society, differing religious beliefs and practices can sometimes create tensions or misunderstandings. However, it is important to note that Kiribati has a long history of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among its diverse religious communities.

The government of Kiribati recognizes and protects the rights of individuals to practice their own religion freely. It promotes religious harmony and encourages dialogue among different religious groups to foster mutual understanding and respect.

In conclusion, while Kiribati is not a Muslim country, it is a nation with a predominantly Christian population. It is crucial to dispel misconceptions and promote accurate information about the religious landscape of Kiribati to ensure a better understanding of the country’s cultural and religious diversity.


In conclusion, Kiribati is not a Muslim country. The predominantly Christian nation embraces the Protestant Christian faith, with the Kiribati Uniting Church being the largest religious denomination. While there may be a small Muslim population in Kiribati, Islam does not hold significant influence or representation in the country’s religious and cultural landscape. Kiribati’s unique cultural heritage and strong Christian traditions continue to shape its identity as a non-Muslim nation.

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