In a move sure to garner mixed reactions worldwide, the nation of Angola has banned Islam. To be perfectly clear, they have actually banned any religion that has not been expressly allowed by their Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, but the only one we really know about for sure is Islam. The news was first reported in several Angolan newspapers who had also recently run stories about a minaret being torn down from an Angolan mosque and another of a mosque near Angola’s capital being destroyed. The point is, the government of Angola is no fan of Islam.
Rosa Cruz e Silva, Angola’s minister of culture had this to say, “The process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Their mosques would be closed until further notice. All sects on the list published by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in the Angolan newspaper ‘Jornal de Angola’ are prohibited to conduct worship, so they should keep their doors closed.” If any of the “prohibited” sects were to open their doors they would risk having their buildings destroyed under government orders.
Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos, was clearer about the reasoning for the recent spate of crackdowns on Muslim faithful, “This is the final end of Islamic influence in our country.”
I think that we in American can understand the feelings of the Angolan people. We’ve been openly fighting a war on Islamic terrorism for over a decade, and we’ve been fighting battles both philosophically and physically against radical Islam since Thomas Jefferson was President. But is the banning Islam the right way to go?
I know that in the Islamic world every other religion is persecuted, abused and maltreated. I know that Islamic governments often work in tandem with brutal religious gangs to police their own people. I know that as a Christian my brothers and sisters are persecuted and even killed for holding fast to our faith. Wherever Islam goes it brings oppression and pain – I know this.
Isn’t religious freedom what makes us better? I have no qualms with saying that our culture is superior to that of the Islamic world – because it is. In the western world we have valued freedom, responsibility, and personal choice, and these values have made us a more open and accepting culture. I would argue that one of the proofs that our culture is superior to Islamic culture is the very fact that we openly allow equality and access of all faiths. We are better, in part, because we DO NOT BAN other religious beliefs.
Freedom of religion is our most sacred and personal right. It is unalienable and God given. So – I will always stand against religious oppression, no matter what form it takes. I think that is what Americans are supposed to do.
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