Angola government denies it tried to ban Islam

Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva

ANGOLAN diplomats in the United States have rejected reports that it has banned Islam – but not before rumours that it had done so alarmed Muslims around the world.

The International Business Times quoted a spokesperson from the Angolan embassy in Washington DC, who said Angola is “a country that does not interfere in religion”.

“We have a lot of religions there. It is freedom of religion. We have Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims and evangelical people.”

Over the past few days, the Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva has been quoted in various African and Indiannews sites as saying that “The process of legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human rights” and that “mosques would be closed until further notice.”

The same sites quoted President Jose Eduardo dos Santos saying: “This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.”

News Corp has been unable to trace the source of the information to Angolan sources, but rumours of the supposed ban spread on social media have alarmed Muslims around the world.

Members of the faith have pleaded with their Twitter followers to “pray for Muslims in Angola” and retweeted images of a mosque being knocked down.

But the International Business Times reported that the images of the mosques were not recent, having been taken in 2008.