ALGERIA: Campaign to close churches continues

Middle East Concern | Sept. 3, 2019

Algerian Christians request prayer as the campaign by authorities to close churches intensifies. Early in the morning of 2 September, gendarmes came to the Church of the Prince of Peace in Ighzer Amokrane and sealed the building.

A closure order for this church had been issued in mid-August. When gendarmes attempted to seal the building on 28 August, Christians occupied the church and refused to leave.

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 a court. They held a meeting with provincial authorities on 28 August, at which the authorities said they would consider the issue. No more was heard until the church was sealed on 2 September.

The same day, leaders of another EPA-affiliated church, in Maatkas, were summoned by the authorities. They were subjected to prolonged interrogation but are grateful that they were not informed that their church is to be closed.