Western Sahara has an area of 165,000 square miles and a population of 383,000. A majority of the population is Sunni Muslim, while a very small Catholic minority appears to function openly without significant problems. Islamic practice in the Western Sahara is frequently characterized by maraboutism, the veneration of religious figures and the tombs in which they are believed to be interred.
There is a small foreign community working for the U.N. peacekeeping contingent, the United Nations Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Most of its members are not Muslims.