Rwanda closes ‘700 unsafe, noisy churches’

Rwanda closes ‘700 unsafe, noisy churches’

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Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

The vast majority of Rwandans are Christians but many also follow traditional practices

About 700 churches have been closed down in Rwanda for failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution. Most of them are small Pentecostal churches. One mosque was also closed. A government official told the BBC that some of the more than 700 buildings shut down have already reopened after they were improved by inspectors. According to new regulations, all preachers must have had theological training before opening a church.Pentecostal churches, often run by charismatic preachers claiming to be able to perform miracles, have grown rapidly in many parts of Africa in recent years. Some are massive, attracting thousands of worshippers each Sunday, but others consist of tiny structures built without planning permission.Church leaders have at times been criticised for using loud public address systems to attract worshippers.Find out what else is going on in Africa today
Why some African governments are clamping down on churches
The men who claim to be Africa’s ‘miracle workers’
More about Rwanda
Government official Justus Kangwagye told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that they simply required the churches to meet “modest standards”.Image caption

This is one of the churches which has been closed

Some church premises exposed worshippers to unnecessary risks and could “cause danger to those worshipping,” Mr Kangwagye told the Rwandan New Times newspaper.The reported crackdown is being carried out by the local authorities with the support of the Rwanda Governance Board, according to the New Times.Some 700 churches were thought to be operating illegally, the Rwanda Governance Board said in a recent statement. The vast majority of Rwandans are Christians but many also follow traditional practices.

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