Algerian authorities have shut down yet another Christian church and its Bible school following the closure of other churches this year.
Boudjima Church was sealed shut by authorities in the Tizi Ouzou province late last month, according to the Christian persecution watchdog website Morning Star News.
The church’s pastor, Youcef Ourahmane, told the outlet that the government cited a law that requires authorization for non-Muslim places of worship.
Ourahmane, along with officials from the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA), met with military officials on May 22 and were informed of an “order of execution” to close the church and school.
Ourahmane explained that a 2006 ordinance stipulates that non-Muslim churches are required to get permission from a national committee to be registered.
Although Ourahmane said he submitted an application for a permit, the application has been left unattended. He contended that the commission in charge approving such requests has never even met and that no applications have been approved or even considered.
The Christian aid agency Barnabas Fund reports that Boudjima Church has been involved in a years-long legal battle with authorities and secured a court victory in January that should have allowed the church to open.
“I am sad to have to face this injustice,” Pastor Ourahmane was quoted as saying. “We prayed for those authorities who are persecuting us, as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded. And in spite of all this, we are convinced that God is sovereign and is in control of this situation and all circumstances.”
According to Middle East Concern, the Catholic Church and the EPA, a network of churches throughout the country, are officially recognized entities.
However, the watchdog notes that “registration requirements have become more stringent since the EPA was first registered in the 1970s.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith