Angola bans Islam, begins tearing down mosques
November 25, 2013In an apparent attempt to prevent the spread of Islamic extremism, the African nation of Angola has banned Islam and is in the process of tearing down mosques, according to multiple media reports.
On November 24, Angola President José Eduardo dos Santos said the country is working toward putting an end to Islamic influence in Angola once and for all.
The African economic news agency Agence Ecofin notes that, "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."
Rosa Cruz e Silva, the Angolan Minister of Culture, said “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.”
However, no official explanation has been given as to why Islam currently faces a need to be legalized in Angola despite its presence in the country for many years.
Another French publication reports that a minaret of an Angolan mosque was dismantled last October, and that the city of Zango "has gone further by destroying the only mosque in the city."
Angola is a majority-Christian nation of about 16 million people, an estimated 55 percent of whom are Catholic, 25 percent of whom belong to African Christian denominations, 10 percent of whom follow major Protestant traditions, 5 percent of whom belong to Brazilian Evangelical churches and where only between 80,000 and 90,000 people are Muslim, according to the U.S. State Department.
Angola reportedly bans Islam, destroys mosques
Destruction of an Angolan minaret
This is extraordinarily strange news, given that the world is racing in the other direction, to accommodate and appease Islam. It will be interesting to see, if these reports turn out to be accurate, how the mainstream media and Islamic supremacist groups will find a way to accuse the Angolans of "racism." In any case, clearly this is a national security issue, with Islamic supremacists and jihadists wreaking havoc in Nigeria and spreading elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no way in Angola any more than there is anywhere else to distinguish jihadis in Angola from the peaceful Muslims among whom they move, organize and recruit, and clearly this measure is designed to stop that activity. However, censure from the UN and the world "human rights" community will probably soon compel Angola to change its stance, and allow the jihadis free rein.
"Angola Bans Islam, Destroys Mosques," from OnIslam, November 24 (thanks to all who sent this in):
LUANDA – 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 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.
According to the minister, the action was necessary to fight relentlessly against the emergence of congregations whose worshipping is contradicting with the customs of the Angolan culture.
Same as Islam, other faiths which were not legalized will face closure of their houses of worship.
“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....
Islam Banned in Angola
On November 22, the Angolan Minister of Culture Rosa Cruz e Silva said that “[t]he process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights [and so] their mosques would be closed until further notice.” Why the religion needs to be legalized has not been definitively stated by Cruz e Silva.
Cruz e Silva has also said that the closing of mosques is the most recent move in Angola’s effort to but a stop to so-called illegal religious sects. Under new laws in Angola, many religious sects have suddenly become criminal.
On November 24, Angola President José Eduardo dos Santos said that the country is working toward putting an end to Islamic influence in Angola once and for all. Again, there is no word of what or who has been influenced and why it needs to stop.
The Governor of Luanda, Bento Bento, has said that “radical” Muslims are not welcome in the country and that the Angolan government will not be legalizing mosques or other places of worship for Muslims.
The African country of Angola’s citizens primarily practice indigenous religions. Recent surveys show that 47 percent adhere to traditional indigenous beliefs while another 38 percent of the population practice Roman Catholicism and 15 percent practice Protestantism.
The now banned religion of Islam is practiced by a very small percentage of the 18.5 million inhabitants of Angola. Only about 80,000-90,000 Angolans practice Islam. These Muslims are primary migrants from West Africa and Lebanon.
While the means of becoming a “legal religion” is Angola is not clear at this point, the government is very harshly cracking down on the illegal sects. Minister of Culture Rosa Cruz e Silva has made it known that there are nearly 200 different illegal religious sects in Angola so it is not just Islam that has been banned in Angola.
Rosa Cruz e Silva has also said that there are more than 1000 applications that have been submitted by religious groups in an effort to legalize their sects. Islamic groups have made up some percentage of these many applications but it is not clear when or if they will ever be approved. Rosa Cruz e Silva said that the legalization process of Islam has simply not been approved and, therefore, mosques must remain closed “until further notice.”
While some mosque could theoretically reopen again in the future, some are gone forever. After Angola banned Islam, one of the country’s few mosques had its minaret was taken down in October. The city of Zango had its only mosque completely destroyed after the ban as well.
By Nicci Mende
U.S. Dept. of State
La Nouvelle Tribune