Protestant churches in Algeria shut down for lacking approval from a government committee that hasn't met

Thursday, January 30, 2020

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Protestant churches are facing "systemic closure" in Algeria, according to Open Doors USA, under a 2006 law that bans non-Muslim worship without prior approval from a government-appointed committee--a committee that hasn't even convened yet.

Hope evangelical church was the latest to receive a court-ordered closure notice earlier this month, the pastor, Rachid Seighir, claiming that the new laws "are only there to muzzle Christians and other religious minorities."

"The 2006 law is being used as a pretext to clamp down on churches in Algeria despite the fact that the commission it created is yet to meet to consider the requests it has already received," Christian Solidarity Worldwide chief Thomas Merwyn said. "This is manifestly unjust."

The Algerian government has used the law to shut down 13 Protestant churches since last January, the majority Muslim nation having risen five spots on Open Doors USA's World Watch List between 2019 and 2020 and deteriorated in "every persecution category over the last year."