Angola has taken measures to officially ban Islam, making it the first country in the world to do so.
The International Business Times reported that several news outlets throughout Africa have quoted officials in the Angolan government stating that the country was taking steps to eliminate Islam in an effort to combat Muslim extremism.
“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 as saying by Agence Ecofin last Friday, according to OnIslam.
Silva said these measures were the latest in a series of ongoing efforts to ban “illegal” religions.
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“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 told the Cameroon Voice.
“In addition, we also have a long list of more than a thousand legalization applications,” she added.
Angolan president José Eduardo told the Osun Defender newspaper, “This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.”
“Fear of radical Islam isn’t the prerogative of westerners,” the French-language Moroccan newspaper La Nouvelle Tribune wrote in an article about Angola anti-Islam measures.
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The Tribune reported that last October, the minaret of an Angolan mosque in the urban municipality of Viana, Luanda, visited mostly by Guinean Muslims, was destroyed.
The provincial governor of Luanda, Bento Bento, said on a local radio station that “radical Muslims are not welcome in Angola and the Angolan government is not ready for the legalization of mosques.”
According to CIA Factbook, 47 percent of Angolans practice indigenous beliefs, 38 percent Roman Catholic and 15 percent Protestant, OnIslam reported. AfricanGlobe states that the Angolan population is 95 percent Christian.
Muslims comprise only 2.5 to 3 percent of Angola’s population. Cultural differences, as well as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, intensified negative attitudes towards Muslims in Angola. On Sept. 1, 2008, a Muslim mob violently attacked non-Muslims in the Angolan community of Andulo, entering people’s homes, burning churches, assaulting and torturing people, and decapitating the daughter of a church deacon.