Nation’s Baha’i community gets religious recognition

Hanoi, Vietnam — Cong Dong Ton Giao Baha’i Viet Nam (Baha’i Community of Viet Nam) held a ceremony on Tuesday to celebrate the awarding of its certificate of operation from the Government’s Committee for Religious Affairs last month.

The objectives and orientation of the Baha’i religion, which was founded in late 1844 in Iran, were in line with Viet Nam’s laws, the committee said.

Baha’i followers have been present in Viet Nam since 1954, and have made significant contributions to the country, particularly in areas of education, health care, trade and environment.

The Baha’i community now has six places of worship and more than 6,880 followers in five provinces in the central and southern regions.

"The State policy on religion respects and ensures freedom of belief and religion for all Vietnamese citizens as stipulated in the country’s first constitution in 1946 and in revised versions," Ngo Yen Thi, head of the Committee for Religious Affairs, said.

Deputy committee head, Nguyen The Doanh, said the committee had recently granted operation registration certificates to three new religions and a religious sect in addition to six existing religions.

Those religious communities’ receiving certificates include Tu An Hieu Nghia (Four Debts of Gratitude) in the southern An Giang Province, and Tinh Do Cu Si Phat Hoi Viet Nam (The Pure Land Buddhist Home-Practice Association) in 23 provinces from central to southern Viet Nam.

Also, the Hoi Truyen Co Doc Giao Viet Nam (The Viet Nam Christian Religion Missionary Alliance) religious sect, whose followers are present in 14 central and central highlands provinces and cities, received certification.

"Other religions will also receive detailed guidelines from authorised agencies to apply for operation certifications," he said.

Viet Nam has six religions recognised by the State, including Buddhism with about 10 million followers, Catholicism with 5.7 million, Protestantism with 1 million, Cao Dai with 2.3 million, Hoa Hao Buddhism with 1.3 million, and Islam with 65,000.

They have a total of 22,000 places of worship and 16 religious organisations.