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Angolan embassy in US says 'Islam ban' reports erroneous
Tuesday November 26, 2013 12:16 PM, News Network

Angolan diplomats in the United States have rejected reports that it has banned Islam - but not before the widely reported news that it had done so sent shock waves among the Muslims around the world.

The International Business Times quoted a spokesperson from the Angolan embassy in Washington DC, who said Angola is "a country that does not interfere in religion".

The official, 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."

A second official at the Angolan Embassy in the U.S. reiterated that the diplomatic seat has not been made aware of any ban on Islam in the country.

"At the moment we don't have any information about that," the official told International Business Times via phone on Monday. "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."

The officials at the Angolan Embassy in Washington also could not attest to the veracity of the comments attributed to officials in Angola seemingly affirming the Islam ban.

News of Angola's supposed ban on Islam originated in the African press, which went so far as to quote the nation's president and minister of culture offering statements that suggested the premise of the reports was accurate.

"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 de Silva, the Angolan Minister of Culture, was quoted by African economic news agency Agence Ecofin.

Silva comments were given during her visit last Tuesday to the 6th Commission of the National Assembly. She asserted that the decision was the latest is a series of efforts to ban 'illegal' religious sects.

The news sent shcok waves across the Muslim world.

"It is shocking, to say the least," Saudi Gazette quoted Abdul Rauf, a resident of Jeddah, as saying.

Abdullah Al-Bakri, a Saudi citizen, called Silva's views "parochial."

"Islam is not a sect. It's a religion followed by more than a billion people all over the world," Al-Bakri said.

"It is a pity that terrorists killing innocent people in the name of Islam are being considered as representatives of Muslims. They don't represent Islam," said an angry resident in Riyadh, questioning the Angolan decision.

According to CIA Factbook, 47% of Angolans practice indigenous beliefs, 38% are Roman Catholics and 15% are Protestants.

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