According to numerous newspapers in Angola, the African nation has banned the Islamic religion. It has become the first country in the world to take such a harsh stance against Muslims. On November 22, the Angolan Minister of Culture Rosa Cruz e Silva said that “the 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.
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.