Angola became a hot topic in the international media over the weekend, as news outlets around the world wrote about reports that the Southwest African nation had banned Islam and had begun to dismantle mosques.
But an official at the Angolan Embassy in Washington, D.C., 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.”
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.
“At the moment we don’t have any information about that,” the official told IBTimes 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 could not attest to the veracity of the comments attributed to officials in Angola seemingly affirming the Islam ban, which outlets including IBTimes had referenced in initial stories on the reports published over the weekend.