Algeria (MNN) — Persecution escalates in Algeria. Local believers tell Asian Access, or A3, that the government is closing more churches and targeting Christian leaders.
Four pastors face trial this week and could be sentenced to prison. One leader was arrested for holding a church service in his home, and two others were detained for producing Christian media content.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” says a believer we’ll call Yemathen*.
“Algeria doesn’t have democracy or freedom, so they can charge them with anything.”
The Algerian government also shut down another church last month, Yemathen says. Only ten churches remain open in the entire country.
Religious freedom conditions have declined since 2020 when a constitutional amendment declared Islam the national religion. Last year, the United States placed Algeria on its Special Watch List for international religious freedom.
“Algeria has two facets,” Yemathen says.
“Outside, it shows that it’s open to any religion and freedom for people to worship; yet, in reality, Algeria has never been open to other peoples of faith.”
Mass protests in 2019 sparked hope for change, leading to a new government formation. However, “the government has not changed its threats on churches,” Yemathen says.
“We thought the government was going to help, but they were just checking on Christians — where they are, and where they may be – [to] not allow them to evangelize and expand the Gospel.”
Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage persecuted Christians in Algeria.
“Pray that this persecution may lead into a greater expansion [of the church] and the Gospel may spread even to different nations across North Africa,” Yemathen says.
Listen to the broadcast (top story)
Direct Link: https://a3-media.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/audio/mnn/4-5min-Feb22-2023.mp3
- This story by Katey Hearth was originally published on 22-Feb-2023 by Mission Network News:
- Download the audio file: https://a3-media.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/audio/mnn/4-5min-Feb22-2023.mp3
- Header image depicts closure announcement and government seal on church doors in Algeria. (Photo courtesy of Middle East Concern)
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