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Contrary to some media reports, the Angolan government says it is not banning Islam.  "There is no war in Angola against Islam or any other religion," said Manuel Fernando, director of the National Institute for Religious Affairs, to the AFP.

But problems do persist for Muslims in Angola, say civil rights activists. An Angolan newspaper quotes David Alberto Já, president of the Islamic Community of Angola, as saying that a total of 60 mosques have been shut down, mostly outside the capital, Luanda. The Angolan government, however, says the closures are related to a lack of necessary land titles, building licenses or other official documents.  Some locals admitted to Al Jazeera that, in fact, some of the mosques that were closed were built without proper legal paperwork, and were not closed because of any anti-Muslim sentiment. 

Reports that Angola, a traditionally devout Catholic nation, was trying to ban Islam emerged over the past week, sparking prompt response from leading Muslim organizations around the world, such as condemnation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Religious organizations must be accredited in Angola.  Right now the government recognizes 83 organizations, all of them Christian.  Meanwhile, the justice ministry has allegedly rejected the applications of 194 organizations, including one from an umbrella Islamic community group.

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