Algeria Christian Appeals Sentence For Abandoning Islam And Spreading Christianity

Friday, July 16, 2021

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - An Algerian man jailed for abandoning Islam and accepting donations to spread Christianity plans to appeal the sentence, Worthy News learned Friday.

Ex-Muslim Ahmed Beghal, whose name was changed for security reasons, said earlier that he was sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined 100,000 dinars (US$740).

He received the penalty at a July 8 court hearing in Khemis Meliana, in Ain-Defla Province, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Algiers, Christians confirmed.

Beghal denies allegations that he was attacking Islam by printing and distributing Bibles as well as other Christian literature and accepting financial support to do so.

The charges are based on Algeria’s controversial legislation criminalizing activities to "undermine the faith of a Muslim."

Authorities also accused him of threatening his ex-wife and daughters after she divorced him under pressure from her Muslim family, according to Christians familiar with the case.


He has denied all charges. Christians said that soon after the Algerian man became a Christian in April 2013, “his wife began seeing positive changes in his life.”

As a result, three months later, she also professed her faith in Christ, Worthy News monitored. However, after the couple was baptized in 2015, the persecution they experienced reportedly escalated.

His Muslim family members seized property from them, including Beghal’s poultry business, and taunted him with insults and death threats, according to several sources.

Two years later, when his wife's family found out about their conversion, they too confronted the couple, rights activists said.

“In fear,” his wife denied becoming a Christian, advocacy groups said. Together with her parents, she then accused her husband “of attacking Islam” and “desecrating verses of the Koran,” deemed a holy book by Muslims.

“Eventually, under pressure from her family, she divorced him,” confirmed advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), citing several sources. She took “their two daughters with her, preventing him from seeing them again,” VOMC told Worthy News.


“Of all the ordeals” he experienced, “his wife's rejection hit him the hardest. Yet, despite the pain, he refused to turn away from his Christian faith,” VOMC added.

In subsequent years, the Christian convert encountered opposition from “many directions,” he and his supporters said. On April 17 this year, he was reportedly detained by Algerian police for questioning, resulting in a prison sentence.

Christians have urged prayers for the man as an appeal against the sentence is underway. Algeria.

Islam is the state religion in the 99-percent Muslim country.

Church observers say that despite reported persecution, thousands of Algerian Muslims have put their faith in Christ in recent years.

Algerian officials estimate the number of Christians at 50,000, but others claim it could be twice that number.