(QHA) - While the constitution in Angola guarantees freedom of religion to all of its citizens, this right no longer seems to apply to the followers of the now banned religion of Islam. 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, The Guarding reports. 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.” Cruz e Silva has also said that the closing of mosques is the most recent move in Angola’s effort to stop 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. Still, an official at the Angolan Embassy in Washington, D.C., who did not want to be identified while discussing the sensitive matter, said that there is no such ban, and that the reports are erroneous. “The Republic of Angola … it’s a country that does not interfere in religion,” the official said via telephone Monday afternoon. “We have a lot of religions there. It is freedom of religion. We have Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims and evangelical people.”

QHA