The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) on Monday alerted the international community “to the serious risk” that the closure and seizure of all its temples in Angola “opens against the right of religion, conscience and thought”.
With ten million faithful and sympathizers in 135 countries on five continents, Universal deeply regrets the worrying position of the Angolan judicial authorities in the face of the attacks the Church has suffered in the country ”, indicated the Department of Social Communication and Institutional Relations of the IURD in Brazil, in a statement sent on Monday to Lusa.
“It also alerts once again the international community, in particular the Christians, on the serious risk that this precedent opens against the right of religion, conscience and thought, guaranteed since 1948 to all the people of the world, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “added the Church, stressing that she had not been informed of the court decision in question.
Angolan justice has ordered the closure and seizure of all IURD temples in Angola, the sealing process being “gradual”, a police source told Lusa on Sunday.
By order of the prosecution, all IURD temples in the national territory are seized and closed, but the sealing process is taking place gradually, ”said the source, adding that in the Angolan capital, Luanda, there were 211 temples. .
Still according to the police source, the temples are seized and will be closed.
“Therefore, as long as the process is ongoing, they cannot retain the services,” the same source said, adding that “so that no more doubts are raised on the matter, the parties will be informed in the coming days. to clarify the situation “.
The IURD in Angola declared itself a “surprise” on Sunday with the order to close four of its temples (Kilamba, Estalagem, Km 30 and Samba) during the service, which resumed this weekend after a hiatus of several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The IURD claimed that the police acted “in a colorful and excessive manner, surrounding members and worshipers who at the time were exercising their right to freedom of worship” and stressed that there was no had no legal obstacle or judicial warrant that prevented worship at these temples, “because they were not arrested or sealed by the attorney general’s office (PGR)”.
In August, the Angolan PGR seized seven IURD temples in Luanda (Alvalade, Maculusso, Morro Bento, Patriota, Benfica, Cazenga and Viana), in a criminal case for alleged practices of criminal association crimes , tax evasion and illicit export of capital.
The IURD in Angola underlined, in the same statement, that some bishops and pastors were taken to a police station without knowing “the real reason for such an act”, after being released after making statements. The IURD has been embroiled in several controversies in Angola, after a group of dissidents left Brazilian leadership in November last year.
Tensions escalated in June with the takeover of the temples by the reformist wing, meanwhile formed as the Angolan Pastors Reform Commission, with an exchange of mutual accusations regarding the practice of illegal acts.
The Angolans, led by Bishop Valente Bezerra, say the decision to break with the Brazilian representation in Angola led by Bishop Honorilton Gonçalves, loyal to the founder Edir Macedo, was due to practices contrary to religion, such as the obligation to practice vasectomy, chemistry castration, racist practices, social discrimination, abuse of authority, in addition to the escape of foreign currency abroad.
The allegations are denied by IURD Angola, which, for its part, accuses dissidents of “xenophobic attacks” and assaults on pastors and has also taken legal action against dissidents.