Angola shuts down all mosques illegalising Islam
Angola shuts down all mosques(Reuters)

Angola has ordered the shutdown of all mosques and declared Islam illegal.

"The legalisation of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights [and] their mosques will be closed until further notice," said minister of culture Rosa Cruz e Silva.

The minister called Islam a "sect" which would be banned as counter to Angolan customs and culture.

Following the ban, there were unconfirmed reports that mosques across the vast southern African nation were being destroyed.

"This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country," President Jose Edurado dos Santos told the Osun Defence daily.

Muslims account for less than 1% of the population of 19 million, while more than half of this former Portuguese colony subscribe to Christianity.

Clashes between the two communities are frequently reported in the local media. Muslims, many of whom migrated from west Africa and Lebanon, often face hostility from lawmakers in Angola.

Along with Islam, 194 other "sects" have been outlawed.

"Besides these, there is a long list of more than 1,000 applications to be authorised," said Silva.

READ: Angola's Islam Ban Will Make it Terrorism Target