Algerian Government is Closing Down Churches at an Alarming Rate

Christians in Algeria don’t quite know what to expect from week to week when it comes to their churches.

Middle East Concern notes that the government seems to be on a campaign to systematically close the doors of the remaining Christian institutions and houses of worship. Although Algeria has a blasphemy law on the books, authorities used another method to disrupt church activity.

Executive Director Daniel Hoffman explains, “This is something that goes in waves. In 2006, an ordinance was issued by then-president Bouteflika that regulates non-Muslim religious worship. One of the main articles of that ordinance said non-Muslim religious worship could only happen in a building that is specifically licensed for that purpose.”

Frustrating circumstances

A commission exists to issue those licenses, but, notes Hoffman, “they have never, ever issued a single permit.” As a result, churches rent their meeting space, and also inform municipal authorities about their activities.

That plays into the current scenario. At the end of 2017, “The authorities went to almost all of the Protestant churches, and they said, ‘We are health and safety committees looking at the health and safety condition of your buildings.’ But they also asked, ‘Show me the license to use this building for non-Muslim religious worship.’” Since none of the churches that applied got the license, none of the churches could produce the papers needed to inspectors.   Says Hoffman, “Several of them have been ordered to close or to cease their activities. The only reason given is always that they don’t have a license.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama