Angola plans to close the “illegal” churches from November. The decision came nearly a month after the state issued legislation to regulate religious activities in the country, says Angola’s Journal online news site.
“The illegal religious denominations in Angola will be closed from November,” said the national director for religious affairs at the Ministry of Culture, Francisco de Castro Maria.
This decision is expected to have an impact on foreign-led churches in Angola, as stated by Castro Maria, who recalled that 50% of the country’s churches are established by foreigners from the different countries of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil, Nigeria and Senegal.
Defending the plan, Culture Minister Carolina Cerqueira said that if the government is neutral, it was forced to act against unregistered organizations that “engage in commercial activities or that pose a threat to human rights, for the principles of living and coexistence in urban areas”.
More than a thousand churches are waiting to be regularized. The government has given the different denominations not yet registered a month to do so from October 4.
The regularization of religious congregations has been in place since August 28, when the Council of Ministers adopted a bill on freedom of religion, belief and worship aimed at establishing stricter conditions for the legalization of religious activities in the country.