Is Christianity an existential threat in Algeria? The answer is proven by the facts on the ground.




The fierce campaign against Christians in this Muslim country by majority; began since years ago, when Algerian Christians started to emerge from the shadows, as citizens who want to obtain their full civil rights in their country , but clashed with an Islamic society afflicted with the denial, and more than that, Rejecting the Muslims as apostates from Islam and declare their new faith.

Since decades, the Algerian media, ideologized by Islam, has played a prominent role in spreading lies against “evangelical” Christianity - “Protestantism”, as a form of ideological “normalization” with Israel and Zionism, which constitutes a “danger” to the constants of the Algerian nation. The latter , pledged to support Al-Aqsa and Palestine "Unjust or oppressed" ظالمة أو مظلومة , this type of propaganda reminds us of Iran's practices against Iranian believers in christ .

The Algerian authorities follow the policy of the mullahs' state in Tehran, in practicing the method of prohibitions and restrictions against evangelicals, To make them fear.

Iran and Algeria grant religious freedom to only traditional church, to which some communities belong , with guarantees of non-practice of proselytizing . Practically, both of them are fighting the local church , because mostly its members are Christians came from Islamic background , they've chosen the evangelical “Protestant” doctrine. Therefore, the Islamic authorities in Algeria feel wary of the local church, and consider it missionary - it may shake the Muslim faith and the constants of the state.

Last October, the arbitrary closure of churches in Algeria, including the "largest church in Algeria," sparked a large wave of support at the international level, and the US State Department recently , has published a report on the state of religious freedom in the country, dividing it into four sections, and It criminalized the arbitrary practices of Algerian laws against non-Muslims.

Algeria, like any Muslim country, its state religion is Islam, and Sharia is the reference for legislation, so it is committed to imposing "legal" restrictions and barriers, to increase the pressure on Algerian Christians for purely religious reasons. recently , the minister of interior affaires has declared in statement to the press , and said :
" The ones that have closed , are not churches, but rather poultry warehouses and stables."
According to echoroukonline.com, he added that the 50 Protestant churches in Algeria do not benefit from a license issued by the National Authority for the Worship of Non-Muslims and are therefore illegal.

Algerian Protestant churches fail to obtain a license to practice their worship from the committee responsible for organizing religious rituals, linked to the Ministry of Islamic Endowments

Previously, the Algerian Minister of Justice claimed that all Algerians are equal before the law without "exclusion". In parallel to this statement, the campaign to close churches has increased in recent months, reaching the point of closing the central Protestant Church in Tizi Ouzou, under the pretext that there is no "license". Noteworthy, the church, which includes 1,200 members and 800 believers in every worship celebration, was practicing its peaceful activity Since the 1990s, legally in Algeria based on a license obtained in 1974, and it has been updated and amended several times, in line with the legal texts and procedures. The freedom to practice religious rites for Christians is linked to the Ministry of Islamic Endowments.

Despite the great confusion that the authorities in Algeria are trying to create, they still refuse to settle the "legal status" of the churches and Christians.
The biggest obstacle facing religious minorities is the controversial law, introduced in 2006, that regulates worship for non-Muslims. Decree 06-03 forbids Christians from holding services without government permission and prohibits religious practices that conflict with the interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law).

On the evening of 27 August, Kader Houali and Sofiane Daqal , two advocates  issued a statement informing the public that "three of the four appeals cases, which have been filed to the Tizi Ouzou Administrative Court by Christian Community Advocates regarding the closure of churches, have been rejected."

The two advocates from the Tizi Ouzou Syndicate explained that the only justification for this decision is the legitimacy of the governor’s decision, with the determination that there is no law justifying the closure of churches, and they considered that an "abuse of power, if the judiciary was not subject to political authority."

Despite the stubbornness of the judiciary, the attorneys in charge of the case remain resolute: “The Christian community and the defense do not give up, and decide to fight to correct this injustice and affirm freedom of worship, the basic pillar of building a democratic state,” outlines the press release.

In the midst of these restrictions imposed by, Algerian authorities , Christians find themselves besieged "legally" and deprived of their legal right to have a private place where they meet to practice their worship, so they resort to home churches, and this is also prohibited by the authorities Do the Islamic authorities in Algeria want to push them to live in the shadows?

"The church is not walls, but all believers," asserts Salah Shalah, pastor of the Evangelical Church in Tizi Ouzou. In this sense, it cannot be strangled.

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Elina metovitch

ناقدة وباحثة في الإسلاميات، موتوا بغيظكم

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