Religion plays a central role in social, cultural, economic and to a greater extent political views of a society. Therefore, it is important to have knowledge about religious institutions and centers that have influence in Eritrea.
Eritrea has no not yet developed an independent and sovereign religious center that was born in Eritrea. All of the existing religious centers are imported from different parts of the world. This makes Eritrea strongly connected with the origin of these religious centers.
As a liberal democrat, I am for the separation of state and religion and religious institutions. It is one of the basic and important principle that the right to belief or worship is central of my political and human rights advocacy. Therefore, I have full respect on the autonomy and freedom of any religious institutions to run their stated affairs without themselves meddling in state affairs.
However, as far as the institutions are operating in Eritrea, they have an obligation to respect sovereignity of the country and respect rule of law without losing their autonomy and links with the outside world in which they are networked with. By doing so respect and security of all institutions can be guaranted.
Any religion or religious institution that organizes events is better if it registers under the country registration code without losing its right freedom as a by sovereign and autonomyous institution. By doing so, it can receive Constitutional protection guaranted within the sovereign and independent country.
It is within the above general understanding and opinion that I have tried to list the most prominent religious institiona which are operating in the PFDJ controlled Eritrea, both public(recognized) or underground(unrecognized). All of them have direct or link with the country of origin.
Under the PFDJ controlled Eritrea, only four religions or religious denominations are recognized. These are the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, Catholic Church, Islam(Sunnah) and Evangelical Church. Outside these four, any other religious institution is banned. Most of them are closed and their members are subjected to persecution, prison, exile, forced conversion, etc.
Four of the recognized religious leaders with the UN General Secretary, Kofi Anan
Some of the the most influencial religions that have influence in the life of Eritrean citizens are:
1. Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt
2. Al-Azhar Mosque, Egypt
3. Grand Mosque of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
4. Roman Catholic Church, Vatican(Rome)
5. Evangelical Church, Sweden
6. Jehovah Witness – USA
7. Pentecostal Church – USA
8. Baha’i Center, Iran/Israel
9. Asmara Jews Synagogue, Israel
Jews Synagogue in Asmara
10. Jerusalem, equally important for all Chriatians and Muslims, Israel
Note: the list includes only those religious centers which have strong presence in Eritrea. It is not complete, and it does not serve any outside the reasons mentioned above. If you know more