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Muslim Leader Says Angolan Authorities Destroying Mosques

Muslim leaders in Angola say the government has shut down or destroyed dozens of mosques over the past few months, with little or no explanation.

An Angolan newspaper quotes David Alberto Já, president of the Islamic Community of Angola, as saying a total of 60 mosques have been shut down, mostly outside the capital, Luanda.

In an interview Tuesday with VOA , the community group's vice president, David Fungula, described the closures as "religious persecution," and said he will not stop praying even if all the mosques in Angola are closed.

The spokesman of Angola's national police, Aristophanes dos Santos, recently said he is unaware of any government order to shut down and destroy mosques, and denied the state was persecuting Muslims.

However, VOA recently obtained a government document telling officials to demolish the "Zango 1" mosque in Viana Luanda province, east of the capital. The order said the mosque must be torn down because it was built without authorization.

VOA has also seen a video showing the total destruction of a mosque in the town of Saurimo.

Only a small percentage of Angola's 18 million people are Muslim. Most Angolans are Christians or follow indigenous religions.
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