ALGERIA – Campaign against churches continues

Middle East Concern | Aug. 27, 2019

Algerian Christians request continued prayer as the government campaign against churches continues. On 21 August, MEC reported that closure orders had been issued against two churches in the governorate of Bejaia, in the towns of Akbou and Ighzer Amokrane. Church leaders were informed that their churches would soon be sealed.

On 26 August the gendarmerie attempted to close the Church of the Prince of Peace in Ighzer Amokrane. Christians occupying the church refused to leave. Representatives of l’Église Protestante d’Algérie (EPA), the legally recognised umbrella group of Protestant churches in Algeria, objected, saying any closure order should be issued by a court, not by regional authorities. After a long discussion, the gendarmerie left without sealing the church. A meeting has been scheduled for 28 August between the governor (Wali) of Bejaia and EPA leaders.

Authorities have not yet attempted to close the church of Akbou.

Since November 2017 Algerian authorities have been engaging in a systematic campaign to close Christian places of worship and other Christian institutions. Since then, nine EPA churches and one non-EPA church have received closure orders. Six of these churches have been sealed.