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Angola Reportedly Bans Islam, Dismantles Mosques

File:Flag of Angola.svg

The nation of Angola has reportedly banned the religion of Islam from the country and begun a demolition program of mosques and other Islamic sites. Islam has existed within the country for a number of years though the overwhelming majority of citizens are Christian. The Minister for Culture in Angola, Rosa Cruz, is quoted as having claimed Islam has yet to be “legalized.”

A number of news outlets have reported that Angola has “banned” Islam and started to dismantle mosques in a bold effort to stem the spread of Muslim extremism.

Weekly French-language Moroccan newspaper La Nouvelle Tribune published an article on Friday sourcing “several” Angolan officials, including the Southwest African nation’s minister of culture, Rosa Cruz, who reportedly offered the following remarks, which have been translated from French: “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.”

Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos is quoted as saying, “This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.” Belligerent and troubling rhetoric given the historic consequences of such absolutist thinking by previous heads of state.

Perhaps more disturbing than statements by officials concerning “legalization” of a religion and religious group already present in the country, are reports that a program to destroy mosques and other Islamic sites has begun in Angola.

In a physical extension of the officials’ sentiments about Islam’s place in Angola, La Nouvelle Tribune said 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.”

Is this a prelude to expulsions, a forced conversion campaign, or worse? What is the full effect of President dos Santos’ promise to a “final end” of Islam in Angola?

As of now there is a lack of clarity on what exactly will be Angola’s specific policy regarding Islam and what “legalization” or lack thereof will entail. Now is a good time for the international community to present firm guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable behavior for a member. The UN along with other institutions and states need to get involved before things deteriorate any further.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Angola Reportedly Bans Islam, Dismantles Mosques

File:Flag of Angola.svg

The nation of Angola has reportedly banned the religion of Islam from the country and begun a demolition program of mosques and other Islamic sites. Islam has existed within the country for a number of years though the overwhelming majority of citizens are Christian. The Minister for Culture in Angola, Rosa Cruz, is quoted as having claimed Islam has yet to be “legalized.”

A number of news outlets have reported that Angola has “banned” Islam and started to dismantle mosques in a bold effort to stem the spread of Muslim extremism.

Weekly French-language Moroccan newspaper La Nouvelle Tribune published an article on Friday sourcing “several” Angolan officials, including the Southwest African nation’s minister of culture, Rosa Cruz, who reportedly offered the following remarks, which have been translated from French: “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.”

Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos is quoted as saying, “This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.” Belligerent and troubling rhetoric given the historic consequences of such absolutist thinking by previous heads of state.

Perhaps more disturbing than statements by officials concerning “legalization” of a religion and religious group already present in the country, are reports that a program to destroy mosques and other Islamic sites has begun in Angola.

In a physical extension of the officials’ sentiments about Islam’s place in Angola, La Nouvelle Tribune said 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.”

Is this a prelude to expulsions, a forced conversion campaign, or worse? What is the full effect of President dos Santos’ promise to a “final end” of Islam in Angola?

As of now there is a lack of clarity on what exactly will be Angola’s specific policy regarding Islam and what “legalization” or lack thereof will entail. Now is a good time for the international community to present firm guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable behavior for  a member. The UN along with other institutions and states need to get involved before things deteriorate any further.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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