In what can be described as a first official reaction to reports about Islam ban in Angola, officials at the Southwest African nation’s Washington embassy have denied the reports as erroneous, asserting their country’s respect for all faiths.
“The Republic of Angola . . . it’s a country that does not interfere in religion,” an official at the Angolan Embassy in Washington, DC, who did not want to be identified discussing the sensitive matter, told International Business Times via telephone on Monday, November 25.
“We have a lot of religions there. It is freedom of religion. We have Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims and evangelical people.”
Several African and Angolan newspapers and news agencies have reported Sunday that Angola has banned Islam in its country, in an unprecedented step taken by a country against one of the Abrahamic faiths.
Quoting the nation’s Minister of Culture, the reports said that the Angolan authorities moved to destroy mosques in the country, including a mosque in the urban municipality of Viana, Luanda which was destroyed last October 17.
Though failing to confirm the authenticity of the report, a second official at the Angolan Embassy in the US reiterated that the diplomatic seat has not been made aware of any ban on Islam in the country.
“At the moment we don’t have any information about that,” the official told IBTimes via phone on Monday.
“We’re reading about it just like you on the Internet. We don’t have any notice that what you’re reading on the Internet is true.”
“The president has been out of the country for a week,” the first Angolan Embassy official added, contending that as such he could not have made the remarks as they were reported.