Officials of the police have closed a church in Boujimaa in Algeria as well as the school that belongs to the church.
Reports say that police wanted to seal the whole building, but couldn’t as there were people in the church when they arrived. Instead they sealed off the main entrance to the church.
The closure is just another incident highlighting the mounting pressure on the church in Algeria. Several other churches have been closed in the past year.
Algeria, in North Africa is ranked at number 22 on the Open Doors 2019 World Watch List. There are 125,000 Christians in Algeria. They’re a tiny minority, making up 0.3 per cent of the total population of 42 million. Most of them are believers from Muslim backgrounds. The majority of the population are Muslims.
It isn’t illegal to leave Islam in Algeria, but it is illegal to ‘shake the faith of a Muslim’ or to use ‘means of seduction tending to convert a Muslim to another religion’. This means Christians must be very careful about how they share their faith.
Churches are allowed to exist – but only if they agree to the government’s rules. These rules ensure that churches cannot hold Bible studies, host foreign preachers or even run a Sunday school, and so very few churches agree to them. It’s likely these rules are behind the recent closures of churches.
Please pray that with the upcoming presidential elections in Algeria, planned on 4 July 2019, there will come a positive change for the Algerian people and for the church in the country. Use the prayer below to help:
Lord Jesus, strengthen our brothers and sisters in Algeria. May You restore their faith and hope. Protect all those who must hide their faith from their families, and may the work of those who support believers in Algeria be fruitful. Amen.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.