Algeria: Government threatening to shut down another Protestant church

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Algerian government authorities are threatening to shut down yet another church from the Protestant Church of Algeria (Église Protestante d’Algérie– EPA) denomination, having closed 16 EPA churches already, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. While Algeria has the second-largest Christian community in North Africa, the Islamic government seeks to suppress the church in the name of protecting the Muslim faith.

The latest EPA church to face closure is in the town of Ait Atteli, ICC reports. On February 2, the provincial governor filed a court case against the pastor and his father based on a 2006 Algerian law that requires non-Muslims to worship in buildings that are licensed by a designated committee. No date for a court hearing has been set yet.

As with the previous 16 EPA closures, the Ait Atteli church is accused of congregating in a building that is unlicensed, ICC said. However, since the implementation of the 2006 law, the commission has yet to grant a single license.

According to a website statement by Christian advocacy group Open Doors USA, the Algerian authorities are “waging an ongoing, systematic campaign against the Protestant church: 13 churches that had previously been forcibly sealed remain closed, and another three were forced to shut down.”

Moreover, Open Doors said: “During the past year, several Christians were arrested and imprisoned on blasphemy and proselytizing charges.” Algeria ranks 22 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.