According to several local newspapers, Angola has become the first country in the world to ban Islam and Muslims, and has begun to destroy 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.
She asserted that the decision was the latest is a series of efforts to ban “illegal” religious sects. According to the minister, the action was necessary to fight against the emergence of congregations whose worship is in contradiction with the customs of Angolan culture.
As well as Islam, other faiths which are not legalized will face closure of their houses of worship.
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 November 24.
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.
Angola is a mainly Christian country although a large part of the population practice indigenous beliefs.
It’s thought that there are around 80,000–90,000 Muslims in Angola, composed largely of migrants from West Africa and families of Lebanese origin. The overall population of Angola stands at around 20 million.