Altino da Conceição, who was speaking to journalists in Luanda, on the sidelines of a lecture on the Muslim communities of the CPLP and the fight against religious extremism, where the similar organization from Mozambique participated, explained that Muslims asked for the first time for recognition of their religion in Angola on August 8, 1978, without success until now, and only in 2018 did they enter the list of religious confessions requesting recognition.
Even so, the number of believers has been increasing significantly, said the sheikh, indicating that daily many Angolan and foreign citizens have been converting and entering "voluntarily" into the Islamic religion, estimating that there are almost 200 mosques in Angola and there will be more than 100 thousand Muslim faithful in the country.
"We are currently in the process of being recognized, since 2018 Islam has been on the list of churches that are in the process of being recognized by INAR (institute for religious affairs)", declared the president of CIM Angola.
At the time, the list would have 97 churches, some of which were recognized and around 20 accredited, taking the first step towards recognition, he indicated.
"Strangely, we Muslims have done everything necessary, we have fulfilled all the requirements of the law, but until now unfortunately the government has not commented on the legalization of Islam in Angola", lamented Altino da Conceição, although he considers that in terms of religious freedom "We are better than before."
"Today, perhaps as a result of insistence on our part, we no longer notice the closure of mosques, unlike what happened in the past," said the religious leader, adding that there are mosques open in all provinces with the exception of one in Bié .
He stated that the exercise of worship has been peaceful and that religious representatives have complied with all the steps required by law, stressing that the reason why the government so far does not recognize religion "is abstract".
"This leads us to many reflections, many conclusions, I'm not saying that it's exactly a fear of terrorism, perhaps there are other issues, but everything indicates that it's a lack of political will, because from a legal point of view we did everything", he highlighted.
From a social point of view, "Muslims are stable in Angolan society, I believe it is a political issue, we would also like to know from the authorities why they don't even speak out, they don't say anything", said Altino da Conceição.
The president of the CIM also highlighted that there is no history of terrorism in Angola: "Have there ever been issues in Angola, terrorist threats from Muslims? We have no data that there have been any terrorist issues in Angola", he emphasized.