Angolans invest in Portugal’s sinking banks
Portugal’s former colony is now one of its biggest investors, during a time of European economic hardship.
Islam is illegal in Angola –No Shiite!
Africa Analysis understands that a number of international Muslim organisations are to launch a campaign to highlight the plight of Muslims in Angola. They say that the Angolan Government is using the war against international terrorism as an excuse to clamp down on Islam. For decades, the authorities here have treated Muslim migrant workers from west African countries with suspicion, including Mali, Senegal, Niger and Nigeria. In fact, it has become a matter of routine at Luanda airport for security officers to detain Muslims arriving from Sahelian countries. Most of these are small-scale traders. In one incident, the Editor of Africa Analysis was briefly detained at Luanda airport after being cleared by immigration to enter the country. It later transpired that the security officers were interested in the fact that he is a Zanzibari-born British citizen and a Muslim. Since the 9/11 attacks on the US, there has been a deliberate attempt to link Muslims with terrorism. Angolan security officials have increasingly been linking a number of Muslim businesses in the country with international terrorism, insinuating that the companies launder money for terrorist operations and are also allegedly involved in the trafficking of arms and drugs. There have also been allegations that senior Government officials and some leaders of the ruling MPLA were in cahoots with the Muslims in their alleged nefarious activities. Curiously, Angola is the only country in the world that does not recognise Islam as a religion. This, despite the fact that the Islamic faith has hundreds of thousands of followers in the country, including Angolans and foreigners. On January 26, Angolan police invaded a number of mosques in several areas of Luanda, ordered the Muslims to leave and confiscated their sound equipment. Muslims have also been banned from holding religious services. The mosques were then locked with chains. No explanation was given. During the operations, the police were accompanied by officials of the local administration as well as those from the culture ministry. Lisboa dos Santos, the Director of the National Institute for Religious Affairs, on whose orders the police acted, defended the action by saying that the law that allows people to congregate for religious purposes “does not apply to Islam since Islam is illegal” in the country. We understand that the closure of mosques will continue in other parts of the country. Muslim leaders in Angola say that they have abided by all conditions for the legalisation of their religion but that the authorities remain oblivious to this. This article first appeared in Africa Analysis (February 24)