RELIGION LIBRARY

Timor-Leste

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Timor-Leste

The country has an area of 5,406 square miles and a population of 1.1 million. According to a 2005 report from the World Bank, 98 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 1 percent Protestant, and less than 1 percent Muslim. Protestant denominations include Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Christian Vision Church. There are also a number of small, nondenominational Protestant congregations. Most Timorese also retain some vestiges of animistic beliefs and practices, which they have come to regard as more cultural than religious.
The country had a significant Muslim population during the Indonesian occupation, composed mostly of ethnic Malay immigrants from Indonesian islands. There also were a few ethnic Timorese converts to Islam, as well as a small number descended from Arab Muslims living in the country while it was under Portuguese colonial rule prior to 1975. The latter group was well integrated into society, but ethnic Malay Muslims often were not, and only a few hundred remained in the country following independence in 2002.

Population Population (2009 est.) 1,131,612
Religious Demographics Roman Catholic 98%, Muslim 1%, Protestant 1% (2005)
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Languages Languages Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
Country Flag Flag of Timor-Leste