Tuesday, October 25, 2016

No, Angola did not ban Islam!

Contrary to circulating reports, Angola did not ban Islam, and the famous picture of a demolished mosque attached to the story is possibly from Nigeria. The myth has been circulating for years now, but Angolan officials have denounced it severally.

One Angolan Muslim, Adam Campos, told the BBC that in fact the Muslim community is "growing every day." Meanwhile, Muslims in various parts of the world have protested the purported ‘ban.’

The story first broke out on a Benin weekly French newspaper, La Nouvelle Tribune, attributing quotes to the Angolan president and minister of culture, but both men have denied uttering statements connoting that the country banned Islam. 

When the story got on Nigerian blogs, a picture of a demolished mosque was attached. Many believe the picture might have been taken in Nigeria.

 “We’re reading about it just like you on the Internet. We don’t have any notice that what you’re reading on the Internet is true,” said an official at the Angolan embassy in Washington DC.

“The Republic of Angola is a country that does not interfere in religion. We have a lot of religions there, Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims and evangelical people.”

Also, the director of the National Institute for Religious Affairs, Manuel Fernando, said "There is no war in Angola against Islam or any other religion."

According to the ministry of culture, some mosques were closed due to  lack of necessary land titles, building licenses and other official documents.

“It’s true that several mosques have been destroyed and others simply shut down in the last few months. Most of the mosques that were destroyed were built without government permission. Two authorised mosques in Luanda are still operating without a problem. I have not heard of any official decision to ban Islam or prohibit Muslim prayers in mosques.” Ahmed ould Taher told Al Jazeera.

According to the U.S. State Department, Angola is a majority-Christian nation of about 16 million people, of whom an estimated 55 percent are Catholic, 25 percent belong to African Christian denominations, 10 percent follow major Protestant traditions, and 5 percent belong to Brazilian Evangelical churches. Only 80,000 to 90,000 Angolans are Muslims

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