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Angola Bans Islam & Shuts Down all Mosques in the Country   angola mosque shut down 620x330

Angola Bans Islam & Shuts Down all Mosques in the Country

Angola-denies-banning-Islam  Angola Bans Islam & Shuts Down all Mosques in the Country   Angola denies banning Islam

In October 2013, Muslims from the urban municipality of Viana, Luanda watched as authorities destroyed their mosque

Angola has reportedly declared Islam illegal and ordered for all of the country’s mosques to be closed down. The Angolan Minister of Culture Rosa Cruz e Silva announced in mid November 2013 that “all mosques would be closed until further notice” and that the “the process of legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human rights” in the Weekly French-language Moroccan newspaper La Nouvelle Tribune. [1] She described Islam as a ‘sect’ that would be banned as counter to Angolan customs and culture.  There are unconfirmed reports that mosques across the African country are being destroyed, according to the International Business Times. [2] On November 24 2013, Angolan president Jose Edurado dos Santos said the country is working toward putting an end to Islamic influence in Angola once and for all. President Jose Edurado dos Santos reportedly told the Osun Defence Daily: ‘This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.’  [3] Along with Islam, which is a religion associated with less than 1 per cent of the population of 19 million, 194 other ‘sects’ have been banned in the nation, where more than half the population is Christian.  In 2011, the Islamic Community of Angola said that there were more than 80 mosques serving about 500,000 Muslims in Angola with a growing number every year. [4] Muslims often face hostile comments from lawmakers in Angola. Muslims in the country had predominantly migrated from West Africa and Lebanon. The government in the country is said to be inclined towards Christianity and the president is a Roman Catholic.  [5]  Clashes between Christians and Muslim people are frequently reported in the local media.  Manuel Fernando, director of the Angolan Ministry of Culture’s National Institute for Religious Affairs, denied the reported measures.  [6] There is no war in Angola against Islam or any other religion,’ Fernando told Agence France-Presse. ‘[7]  There is no official position that targets the destruction or closure of places of worship, whichever they are.’  Less than 1 per cent of the Angolan population of 19 million people are Muslim. President of the ICA, David Já, said, “We can say that Islam has been banned in Angola. You need 100,000 to be recognised as a religion or officially you cannot pray.” According to the ICA, there are 78 mosques in the country and all have been closed except those in the capital, Luanda, because they are technically unlicensed. “The mosques in Luanda were supposed to be closed yesterday [Nov 27 2013] but because of an international furore about reports that Angola had banned Islam, the Government decided not to,” Já said. Já said the Government began shutting mosques in 2010, including one that was burned down in Huambo province, “a day after authorities had warned us that we should have not built the mosque where we had and that it had to be built somewhere else. The Government justified by saying that it was an invasion of Angolan culture and a threat to Christian values.” Another mosque was destroyed in Luanda earlier this month, Já said, and 120 copies of the Qur’an burned. Muslims have been instructed to dismantle mosques themselves, he added. “Failure to do so results in government authorities doing it themselves.” [8] Public attitudes toward Islam have been generally negative. Cultural differences between Angolans and Muslim immigrants have been the basis for negative views toward Islam, as was the perceived link between Islam and illegal immigration.  [9] Since the 11 September attacks, there has been a deliberate attempt to link Muslims with terrorism. It has become routine at Luanda airport for security officers to detain Muslims arriving from West African countries. [10] Women who wear the hijab are also being targeted, Já said. “Most Muslim women are afraid to wear the hijab. A woman was assaulted in hospital in Luanda for wearing a hijab, and on another occasion, a young Muslim lady was beaten up and told to leave the country because she was wearing a hijab. “Most recently, young girls were prohibited from wearing the hijab in Catholic schools and, when we went there to confront the nuns, they simply said they couldn’t allow it. Although there is not an explicit written law prohibiting the use of headscarf in Angola, the Government has prohibited the practice of the faith and women are afraid to express their faith in that sense.” Human rights activists have condemned the wide-ranging crackdown. “From what I have heard, Angola is the first country in the world that has decided to ban Islam,” said Elias Isaac, Country Director of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (Osisa). “This is a crazy madness. The Government is intolerant of any difference.” [11] In Egypt, Mufti Shawqi Allam said such a move would be “a provocation not only to Angolan Muslims but to more than 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world.” [12]

[1]  Georges C., L’Angola prend des mesures qualifiées d’anti-islam, La Nouvelle Tribune, 22 novembre 2013 ; William Turvill, Angola bans Islam and shuts down all mosques across the country because it ‘clashes with state religion of Christianity’, Daily Mail, 18:32 GMT, 25 November 2013; Angola bans Islam, shuts down mosques, Ghanavoice, November 26, 2013; Angola bans Islam and shuts down all mosques, Trending, November 26 2013
[2] Vasudevan Sridharan, Angola Bans Islam and Shuts Down All Mosques, International Business Times, November 25, 2013 12:15 GMT
[3] Angola bans Islam, shuts down mosques, Sowetan LIVE, nov. 26, 2013; Religious Persecution?; Islam Banned in Angola, Mosques Shut Down, Nigerian Bulletin, Nov 26, 2013
[8] Angola denies banning Islam, The Muslim News, 24th Dec 2013
[11] Angola denies banning Islam, The Muslim News, 24th Dec 2013
[12] Angola denies banning Islam, The Muslim News, 24th Dec 2013

About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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