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Algeria steps up restrictions against Christians

In recent months, authorities in Algeria have stepped up restrictions against Christian churches in the country, orchestrating what appears to be a “coordinated campaign of intensified action against churches1.” Worryingly, the restrictions have also led to an increase in arrests of Christians in the country.

Image: UNOCHA via Wikimedia Commons

According to reports, in November 2017, Algerian authorities formed a committee to inspect churches on its compliance with safety regulations. However, despite its main aim being safety issues, the committee has also questioned churches on whether it possesses permits to conduct religious activities. The committee has accordingly ordered several churches, two Bible schools, and a Christian-owned bookshop to close down.

In March 2006, the Algerian Parliament adopted Ordinance 06-03, which effectively confined non-Muslim worship to specific buildings approved by the National Commission for Non-Muslims Religious Groups. This has, historically, led to many complications for Algerian churches, which, as routine practice, rent buildings for worship activities and inform the authorities. According to Middle East Concern, “Church leaders inform local authorities about their activities and provide all relevant documentation, including statements confirming affiliation to L’Église Protestante d’Algérie (the EPA), the only Protestant denomination officially recognised by the Government.”

“We call on the government of Algeria to ensure that the religious freedom of Christians is safeguarded in accordance with international law”, said Godfrey Yogarajah, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance. “We also call on the government, in keeping with the country’s constitution, to take all steps necessary to guarantee the freedom of worship for all religious groups in the country”, he added.

February 26, 20182 Religious Liberty Commission World Evangelical Alliance

 

Notes 1 Meconcern.org. (2018). Algeria: increasing pressure on Churches | Middle East Concern. [online] Available at: http://www.meconcern.org/2017/12/26/algeria-increasing-pressure-on-churches/ [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018]

2 This report reprinted at PneumaReview.com with permission.

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Category: In Depth, Winter 2018

About the Author: The PneumaReview.com editors are Raul Mock, Mike Dies, Joe Joslin, and Jim Dettmann with significant input from other writers including John Lathrop, Amos Yong, Tony Richie, and Kevin Williams.

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