There were reports of abuses of religious freedom.
The high membership threshold for compliance with the registration process of religious groups posed a barrier to registration. During the year, the government continued to recognize 83 religious groups; it has not recognized any new organizations since 2004. More than 900 organizations have applied for legal recognition but did not comply with all provisions of the law, and more than 2,000 organizations are believed to be operating without legal status. Nonetheless, the government generally permits these organizations to exist, function, and grow without legal recognition.
The Muslim community claimed they could not practice Islam freely because the government does not recognize Islam and selectively intervenes to close mosques, schools, or community centers.
Governmental agencies, church groups, and civil society organizations continued campaigns against indigenous religious practices that involved shamans, animal sacrifices, or “witchcraft." The stated goal of these campaigns was to discourage abusive practices, in particular exorcism rituals, which included willful neglect or physical abuse. According to the National Institute for Religious Affairs (INAR), cases of abusive practices diminished significantly due to the campaigns and government directives.
In early January, local authorities closed ten “illegal” churches in the Maianga neighborhood of Luanda. The government indicated that these churches constrain the infrastructure of the neighborhood, specifically by creating congestion in the streets.
On November 16 local authorities in Cacuaco, Luanda Province, arrived unannounced with heavily armed guards and forcibly tore down a large tent being used as a mosque. The authorities allegedly used excessive force and intimidation, gave no written order of a violation, and offered no compensation for the destroyed structure.
In December, a Muslim group in Malange Province applied for permission to build a large, permanent mosque on land they had purchased near their small, temporary mosque. After several months of waiting without receiving a reply, and despite repeatedly asking local authorities to grant or deny their application to build, the Muslim group began construction. Shortly after construction began, local authorities arrived and destroyed the foundation. The authorities did not provide either a denial of the building application or a citation for an offense.