According to several Angolan newspapers, Angola has become the first country in the world to ban Islam and Muslims, taking first measures by destroying mosques in the country.
“The process of legalization of Islamhas not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, their mosques would be closed until further notice,” Rosa Cruz e Silva, the Angolan Minister of Culture, was quoted by Agence Ecofin on Friday, November 22.
Silva comments were given during her visit last Tuesday to the 6th Commission of the National Assembly.
She asserted that the decision was the latest is a series of efforts to ban ‘illegal’ religious sects.
The minister added, in her answer to questions raised by the MPs of the 6th Commission of National Assembly, that the action will oblige the revision of law 2/04 of May 21, related to freedom of religious assembly, Angolan official news agency, Agencia Angola Press, reported.
The Angolan government would also be obliged to update the current national context as a way of fighting the rise of new religious congregation whose religious assemblies are contrary to “habits and customs to Angolan culture,” Silva added.
Same as Islam, Silva announced that there are at least 194 religious sects that were not authorized to have their activities.
“All sects on the list published by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in the Angolan newspaper ‘Jornal de Angola’ are prohibited to conduct worship, so they should keep their doors closed,” she was quoted by Cameroon Voice.
“In addition, we also have a long list of more than a thousand legalization applications,” she added.
The anti-Islam comments were not the first by Angolan officials.
“This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country,” President José Eduardo dos Santos was quoted by Osun Defender newspaper on Sunday, November 24.
Last October, Muslims from the urban municipality of Viana, Luanda, attended the destruction of the minaret of their mosque Zengo.
The provincial governor of Luanda, Bento Bento, has also said on the airwaves of a local radio that “radical Muslims are not welcome in Angola and the Angolan government is not ready for the legalization of mosques.”
He added that Muslims were not welcome in Angola and that the government would not legalize the presence of mosques in the country.
According to CIA Factbook, 47% of Angolans practice indigenous beliefs, 38% Roman Catholic and 15% Protestant.
Islam’s opinion about freedom of religion is evident from the Qur’an, which says what means:
A number of newspapers in the region are reporting that the Republic of Angola has outlawed Islam, apparently in an effort to thwart the spread of Muslim radicalism in the country.
Among them was La Nouvelle Tribune, a French-language newspaper out of Morocco, reports the International Business Times.
La Nouvelle Tribune observed that a minaret on an Angolan mosque had been removed previously. Also, in the small city of Zango, not far from the capital of Luanda, government officials reportedly destroyed a mosque.
The Moroccan paper quoted Angola’s minister of culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva, for details.
“The process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights,” Cruz e Silva said. “Their mosques would be closed until further notice.”
The ban, which includes an order to destroy all mosques in the country, isn’t specific to Islam, according to India Today. Other faiths which don’t meet government approval will face the same restrictions.
“All sects on the list published by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in the Angolan newspaper ‘Jornal de Angola’ are prohibited to conduct worship, so they should keep their doors closed,” Cruz e Silva was quoted by as saying by the Cameroon Voice.
It’s not clear which other religions are included.
Other government officials firmly agreed with the culture minister.
Bento Francisco Bento, governor of the country’s Luanda province, has declared that radical Muslims are “not welcome in Angola.”
“This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country,” added Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos.
According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the people of Angola are mostly a mix of local tribes. There’s a very small minority of Europeans. There’s also a healthy 22 percent representation from ethnic groups called “other.”
About 50 percent of the people in Angola practice indigenous religious beliefs. Roman Catholics make up 38 percent of the population. Protestants make up 15 percent.
To whatever extent adherents of Islam are living among the 18 million or so inhabitants in Angola, then, the population is by all accounts very small.
Portuguese is the official language of Angola. The country is slightly less than twice the size of Texas.