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 Islam has 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’s 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.
Like 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.”
According to CIA Factbook, 47% of Angolans practice indigenous beliefs, 38% Roman Catholic and 15% Protestant.
[Editor’s Note: This story has been reported by the Daily Mail and International Business Times, but it has not been independently confirmed.]