Angola has announced plans to close down what it calls “unregistered churches”.
The planned shutdown of these churches will start in November. It is part of the enforcement of a law meant to regulate religious activity.
The law was made public a month ago, online newspaper Jornal de Angola reports.
Jornal de Angola quotes an official of the Ministry of Culture, Francisco de Castro Maria as saying that “Religious denominations that are illegal in Angola will be closed starting in November.”
Francisco de Castro Maria, the ministry’s national director for religious issues says the closure will affect foreign-led churches.
Mr Castro Maria is reported to have said that “50% of the churches in the country are established by foreigners from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Nigeria and Senegal”.
The country’s Culture Minister Carolina Cerqueira backs the move saying the state is forced to “act against unregistered bodies which are a threat to human rights and against the principals of urban life and positive coexistence”.
Over 1,000 churches are currently awaiting processing to be afford a legal status. The government has given unregistered churches a month since October 4 to regularize their status.
Some other African countries like Rwanda have closed down hundreds of churches over certification and noise making reasons.
Most Africans love their churches but many of them established by individuals have not been registered.
There are concerns letting them operate without registering could be dangerous to the cohesion of the countries they operate in.