Charity warns church closures in Algeria are part of a ‘systematic campaign’ against Christians

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The charity said when paramilitary police attempted to shut down Church of the Prince of Peace in Ighzer Amokrane recently, Christians occupied the church and refused to leave.

The authorities managed to succeed at the second attempt and the church has been closed since 2 September.

 

Representatives of l’Église Protestante d’Algérie (EPA), the legally recognised umbrella group of Protestant churches in Algeria, said the closure was illegal as it had not been ordered by court.

Around the same time, leaders of another EPA-affiliated church in Maatkas were called by the authorities and interrogated.

The charity said a 2006 ordinance regulating non-Muslim worship requires all churches to be licensed. Since November 2017, most EPA-affiliated churches have been asked to prove they have a licence.

Meanwhile, applications from churches for a licence have been ignored by the authorities and many churches have received written orders to cease all activities.

The charity also said in May this year, a church in the Kabilye area, was shut down.

Churches in Ait-Mellikeche, Al A’keed Amroush and Azaghar were closed in 2018.

Open Doors

An illustrative image of an Algerian church

 

An Open Doors spokesperson said: “These actions clearly represent a deeply concerning continuation in the systematic campaign against Christians…

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