The dominant religious belief was Buddhism; however believers practice a mixture of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Though 50% of the population is nominally Buddhist, the government Office of Religious Affairs estimates that only 11% of the population are practicing Buddhist. Christianity was first brought to Vietnam in the 17th century by Roman Catholic missionaries. Under French rule, Christianity prospered, and when Vietnam restored its independence in 1954, there were more than two million Catholics in the country, a population that increased to between six and seven million in 1998. Estimates indicate that 8 - 10% of the population are Roman Catholics. There are anywhere between 421,000 to 1.6 million Protestants in the country. About 65,000 people are Muslim, primarily Sunni. About 54,000 people are Hindu, most of whom are ethnic Cham. (Source: Encyclopedia.com | 2007).