Wednesday 6 July 2022

Islam in Angola (Africa)

The African country of Angola is a predominantly Christian country with Islam being a minority religion. As of 2014 census, there are 195,000 Muslims in Angola, representing 1% of total population. The majority of Muslims belongs to Sunni Islam, who generally came from West Africa and the Middle East, though some are local reverts.

The Association of the Development of Islam in Angola is the primary proselytizing organization. Muslim Angolans are represented by the Supreme Council of Angolan Muslims of Luanda.

Despite the fact that Although Islam has ancient roots in Angola, the spread of Islam began in the 1990s as massive immigration took place from the West African countries of Mali, Senegal, and Guinea, among others, yet the state of Muslims is larger than pathetic for they remain unrecognised as Muslims by  the Angolan government.
As per a report published in 2019, “The former regime was not so open with Islam in particular and freedoms in general. Consequently, Muslims faced many challenges. One of the most controversial issues regarding religion is the Law on Religion.”
Since 2004, the law has determined that for a religion to be recognized by the state, it must have more than 100,000 members and a presence in over two-thirds of the nation’s territory. In addition, a religious group must submit a minimum of 60,000 signatures to the government to have its congregation legalized.
The non recognition of Islam as one of the religions is despite the fact that government has given legal status to 83 religious groups (all of them Christian) 

In view of the so called non recognition of Islam as one of the religions of the country, Muslims are facing lot of inconvenience in performing their religious rituals, specially the combined prayers. There are no official mosques. Yet, some Muslims obtained licenses to build commercial warehouses and then used the sites to build mosques, without obtaining legal permission or building licenses specifically for such places of religious worship. There are around 69 unregistered Mosques in the country (US Department of State 2021: 4; d’Orsi 2017).

Government officials have also stated that some practices allowed by Islam, such as polygamy, contradicted the constitution. And when the government in 2020, as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19, allowed only religious services on Saturdays and Sundays, this was felt as discriminatory to the Muslim community and their Friday services. The director of the Instituto Nacional para os Assuntos Religiosos (National Institute for Religious Affairs, INAR, the regulating body of ‘religious affairs’), called this a “a false problem” because the authorization only affected “legally recognized religions”. In other words, a banned religion had no rights anyway. [3]

However, a report published in 2021 says that despite lack of recognition, Muslims have a peaceful co-existence with the Christian community, which in the past was worse. even being partners of the Angolan State in some social works. But still, the Islamic communities face barriers in their daily loves, the result of the lack of recognition by the Angolan authorities.  [4]

Due to lack of legal entity the Muslims are unable to build a school, a hospital or orphan center or allowing some imam to preach to Angolan Muslims as there is no missionary visa. The report says that the religious activities, such as prayers and important dates for Muslims are easily respected in Angola, according to the new president of Consia.

I could not find latest status of Muslims as the reports available on the net are generally  five years or old.  I will try to update this post as and when some insight in life of Muslims in Angola is laid hands on. Meanwhile I would request input from any Angolan Muslim reading this post. Please leave your views in the comment box.

Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

To know more about life of Muslims in other non Muslim countries, please visit our page: Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo  | Source(s) References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

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