Has Angola – a Southern African nation – enacted an outright ban on Islam? That’s quite the claim some media outlets are making — but the reports seem flimsy at best.
India Today reports the Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva made the announcement at the 6th Commission of the Angolan National Assembly last Friday. It says "Silva was quoted by news agencies and Angola newspapers as saying, 'The process of legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human rights, their mosques would be closed until further notice.'"
Several outlets picked up the story and added more quotes from Silva.
According to Arutz Sheva, Silva reportedly said the ban was necessary because Islam is "contradictory to the customs of Angola culture."
American conservative blog TheBlaze cited the report from India Today, much to the glee of some of their commenters.
But International Business Times questions if any of these claims are actually true.
The site reports two unidentified officials at the Angolan Embassy in Washington D.C. said they have not been made aware of any kind of Islam ban in the African nation. Other discrepancies the site outlines:
It says a Google image search revealed that the photograph many sites are using with this story to show the destruction of mosques is from 2008 when the Housing & Land Rights Network was illustrating the destruction of Bedouin homes in Israel. (Via OnIslam.net)
But, we also did a Google image search and actually found it used earlier than that, in an article on ISM-france.org, illustrating the demolition of a mosque and six houses in a Moroccan village on Dec. 29, 2003.
So this is obviously not an image showing mosques being destroyed in 2013. International Business Times also questions a few of the supposed quotes by Angolan officials.
OnIslam.net reported Nigeria’s Osun Defender newspaper quoted Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos as saying “This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.”
But one of the officials IBT spoke to said the president has been out of the country for a week, so that report can’t be valid.
Plus, when we looked at the article this quote was allegedly taken from, we noticed two things:
1. This quote is never even mentioned in the article, and ...
2. It doesn’t look as though Osun Defender was the official source of the story anyway.
As you see, it says the report was from the blog Bare Naked Islam, which doesn’t exactly look to be a credible news source.
Plus, it seems to be just a compilation of other reports from these sources, which also never mention any quotes from the Angolan President. (Via Xibaaru, Algerie Patriotique)
So, there’s a lot of he said, she said in this story, and there isn’t really anything we can comfortably report to be true — besides how many people this ban would affect if it were actually true.
According to a report from 2008 (So, yes, even this data could be inaccurate by now.), there are 16 million people in the predominantly Christian nation, and approximately 80,000 to 90,000 Muslims in Angola. (Via U.S. Department of State)
A thorough search of the World Wide Web does not produce any official comment from Angola’s government on these reports.