Church threatened with demolition in Algeria in wave of persecution


Date:  May 8, 2019

Algerian security forces are threatening to demolish a church despite the new building being given the stamp of approval by a court.

Boudjima Church in Tizi Ouzou finally opened on 11 January after a court ruled against the governor of the city, who wanted to stop its construction.

On 28 April the city’s head of security and heavily-armed police officers and gendarmes, threatened to close and demolish the building and ordered families occupying it to leave. The church has suffered continual harassment from the local authorities since 2017.

Street protests are continuing in Algeria and there are concerns that Islamist extremists may take advantage of the unrest to seize control. In March, Al Qaeda leader Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi urged Muslims to “unite” to ensure Algeria is ruled by sharia law

A climate of increasing pressure on Christians has been developing in Algeria in 2019. In another incident, a pastor was charged with building an illegal wall around his church building in Makouda, a town north of Tizi Ouzou.

In the western port city of Oran, a Christian bookshop owner was refused permission to reopen his shop despite being found innocent of any wrongdoing.

Another Christian is due to appear in court on 16 May accused of allowing worshippers to meet in his building in the town of Ighram without official authorisation to allow a church gathering.

There is growing concern over the attempts of Islamist extremists to fill the political vacuum left by the departure of 82-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Bouteflika resigned after 20 years in power when the military pressured him to go following weeks of street protests.

A 90-day caretaker president, Abdelkader Bensalah, was put in place until elections are held. In ongoing protests, Bensalah is also being called to resign. He is not permitted constitutionally to stand in the forthcoming election now set for 4 July.

Please join us in prayer:  Pray that Christians in Algeria will be protected and able to worship unmolested during the current turmoil engulfing the nation and ask that a government sympathetic to Christians will fill the current political vacuum. Ask for God to protect the Christian who appears in court on May 16 and pray that he will not be punished for allowing Christians to meet for worship in a building he owns.

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