Despite the democratic and religious reforms promised in Algeria’s new constitution, Islam flexes its muscles against Christian churches there.
On November 9th, 2017, local authorities closed down a church in Algeria’s northwestern town of Aïn Turk. Authorities claimed that the church, affiliated with the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA), did not have state approval and was “illegally printing Gospels and publications intended for evangelism.”
The president of the EPA, Rev. Mahmoud Haddad, says that these claims are “unfounded” and that the church has been officially recognized by the government since 1974 and is accredited with both the Ministry of the Interior and the local government, according to World Watch Monitor.
On December 19th, three Christians were arrested in Chlef (124 miles northwest of the capital Algiers), and taken into police custody for interrogation because of Christian literature found in their possession. The three Christians were later released but still “may face charges of proselytism”.
According to the Christian advocacy group Middle East Concern, the growing pressure against Christians in Algeria signals a “coordinated campaign of intensified action against churches by the governing authorities”.
The new constitution in Algeria, passed in 2016, explicitly guarantees religious freedom, yet in reality, many churches continue to be shut down by authorities who cite the breach of a 2006 law created to restrict non-Muslim worship.
Christian house churches in Algeria now experience severe opposition despite their full compliance with the state law.
“The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, — your faith in God has become known everywhere…to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, — Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath.” — 1 Thessalonians 1:8a,10
1/9 — Pray for the spiritual encouragement and growth of Christian congregations in Algeria who don’t have the certainty of knowing where they will physically meet.
1/10 — Pray for Algerian Christians to rest in the daily strength of God’s Word to live joyously as unto Christ even in the face of extreme persecution and hardship.
1/11 — Pray that God’s Word will embolden Christians in Algeria to live fearlessly for the glory of Christ and boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus.
1/12 — Pray for the endurance of imprisoned Christians in Algeria who regularly face beatings, torture, harassment and the denial of needed medical care.
1/13 — Ask God to comfort families in Algeria who many times do not receive updates about their imprisoned loved ones and are not allowed to visit. Pray that they too will remain faithful to the calling God has placed on their lives.
1/14 — Ask God to give Algerian churches His wisdom to know how to live in dependence on Him day-to-day.
1/15 — God is at work developing the mind of Christ in Algerian Christians today; pray that they trust His handiwork.
1/16 — Ask God to send comfort and encouragement to the families of imprisoned and martyred Christians in Algeria.