Mustapha Krim, the President of the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA), was informed by police on May 22nd that all non-Muslim places of worship in Béjaïa Province, including the seven EPA churches he oversees, would be shut down. Algerian authorities based their decision to shut down the churches on the discriminatory Ordinance 06-03, which regulates non-Muslim worship. The EPA umbrella organization has been attempting to gain official recognition with the government for many years and finally obtained it this July. However, a total of 25 individual EPA churches have not been granted official registration although they applied through the appropriate channels. As a result, these Christian churches are still unprotected by the government and may be closed.
In addition to this attack on the Christian community, Algerian officials have also targeted individual Christians. Karim Siaghi was arrested in April on charges of proselytism and blasphemy. He was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 200,000 Dinar (approx. $2740 dollars.) in May. His crime: giving a Christian CD to his neighbor. Karim was freed when he appealed the harsh sentence, but he may be picked up by the police at any time to serve his sentence.
Open Doors is asking you to join with us to defend Algerian Christians from oppressive government action. Please take a moment to send a message to Algerian Ambassador Baali asking him to rescind Ordinance 06-03 and to overturn Karim Siaghi’s sentence. Thank you for your prayers and support, and for taking time to advocate for Christians in Algeria!