By MENA Program Coordinator
11/23/2022 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – Over the Past few years Algeria has forced at least 16 separate churches to close. This is allegedly because of their unregistered status, most of which being affiliated with the EPA (Evangelical Protestant Association). The Algerian government has repeatedly refused to accept their application for registration, forcing Christian’s into a dangerous spot for practicing their faith.
In 2006 the EPA was legally registered, so many churches choose to affiliate themselves with this sect feeling it is the “safest” given its previous legal status. Churches closing in Algeria has been a trend for a few years and ICCs has covered this issue over the years.
“Algeria’s constitution technically protects freedom of conscience and worship, but the country is officially Islamic and there are no realistic pathways for religious minorities to seize their rights. Since November 2017, church closures increased, and no churches have been considered for official approval.”
In ICC’s report on State-Sponsored Church Closures and Religious Discrimination in Algeria, they explain this further,
“… Ordinance 03/06, which requires all places of worship to be recognized and licensed according to the government’s standards for zoning, health and safety, and reason for being. The specific governmental entity responsible for managing these licenses and working with local non-Muslim religious leaders is the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups (NCNMRG). However, as the NCNMRG has so far denied all requests and applications for certification by individual churches, the national government has been granted a free hand to forcibly close down any churches it sees fit.”
Essentially, the legality of these churches are not accepted as the current government refuses to acknowledge them as such, regardless of the laws, and push from human rights activists. Algeria government is expressing to the world that they do not accept anyone outside of their traditional Islamic belief system and you will be treated as criminal otherwise.
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