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Angola Becomes 'First Country to Ban Islam'

Southern African nation reportedly bans Islam and orders the demolition of mosques in the country.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 1:30 PM

Mosque (file)
Mosque (file)
Flash 90

The African nation of Angola has reportedly become the first country to ban Islam and Muslims, reports On Islam. Concerning the ban, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Sunday "this is the final end of Islamic influence in our country."

Angola's ban was first announced last Friday, when Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva said "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."

India Today reports Silva's statement was made at the 6th Commission of the Angolan National Assembly, and that the ban includes orders to demolish mosques in the country.

Silva reportedly said the ban was necessary since Islam is "contradictory to the customs of Angola culture."

Angola's population of 16 million is predominantly Christian, with only 80,000-90,000 Muslims, the majority of whom are migrants from West Africa and families of Lebanese origin, according to the US State Department.

The crackdown on Islam comes as Christians in the Middle East are being forced from Muslim countries.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren noted in 2012 that the Christian population in the Middle East dropped from 20% a century ago to 5% currently amid ongoing persecution of Christians by Muslims.

Oren noted in Egypt 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes in 2011 amid anti-Christian violence during the "Arab spring" uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak.

In 2012 Saudi Arabia's top Muslim leader, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh, issued a fatwa (religious decree) to demolish all churches on the Arabian peninsula.

Particularly in Africa, analysts have commented that Islamist forces have been killing and expelling Christians largely with negligible international criticism.

Aside from Islam, other religions that have not been legalized will face similar measures in Angola. The non-legalized religions 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," said Silva.

The Minister of Culture added that there is a legalization process through which over a thousand religious sects are currently applying.