Cambodia - Religions
Buddhism has been the state religion since 1989 and according to a 2002 report, about 93% of the inhabitants practice either Hinayana or Theravada Buddhism. It is believed that some practices of animism are adhered to by most people as well. The Chinese and most Vietnamese in Cambodia practice a traditional mixture of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, ancestor worship, and animism. In 2002, there were about 700,000 Muslims, representing the four branches: Shafi, Wahabi, Iman-San, and Kadiani. Less than 1% of the population is Christian, with over 100 separate organizations represented. There are also small groups of the Vietnamese Cao Dai religion and the Baha'i Faith.
The government that took power in 1975 virtually abolished Buddhism, defrocking some 70,000 monks and turning pagodas into warehouses. Islamic spokesmen have claimed that 90% of Cambodia Muslims were massacred after 1975. Of some 6,000 Roman Catholics left in Cambodia at the time of the revolution, only a few survived. All mosques and Catholic churches were razed. The PRK regime that came to power in 1979 permitted the return of religious practice, and hundreds of pagodas were reopened. In insurgent areas controlled by the Khmer Rouge, Buddhism was allowed after 1979, and in non-Communist resistance camps there reportedly was full freedom of religion.
As of 1999 the constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government reportedly respects this right in practice.