Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Open Doors: Algeria - Anti-Proselytizing Law

Christians Encounter the Anti-Proselytizing Law

A number of sources point to a worsening in the situation of Christians in Algeria, particularly in the Kabyle region, which is often singled out as being a place where evangelism occurs.
Last December, the Christian director of a Kabyle primary school was suspended by the Ministry of Education. According to the ministry, the director used the school for evangelism, “inciting Christianity and failing to follow the school curriculum.”* The Minister of Religious Affairs, Mr. Bouabdallah Ghoulamallah, was pleased with the decision. The director, however, denies the accusations.

In another incident, five people were recently taken to court in Tizi-Ouzou, Kabylie, and accused of evangelizing.

These events highlight the fact that the anti-proselytizing law of September 2006 (which relates to worship and places of worship) is starting to be applied in Algeria. The law seeks to prevent the conversion of Muslims to Christianity and calls for prison sentences and fines for anyone who “incites, forces or uses means of seduction with a view to converting a Muslim to another religion” or who “makes, stores or distributes printed documents or audio visual materials, or any other media seeking to undermine a Muslim in his faith.”

Locally, many fear the closure of all unregistered places of worship in Algeria. This would be contrary to the Algerian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience and opinion (article 36) as well as freedom of expression, association and assembly (article 41).

*Quote taken from an interview given in January to Channel 2 of the national radio service.

Please pray:
  • That the school principal’s case might receive a fair hearing from the Ministry of Education. (Psalm 7:6)

  • For the five Christians who are currently facing charges. (Deuteronomy 4:7)
  • For all Algerian Christians, that God might fill them with wisdom in dealing with the anti-proselytizing laws. (Colossians 1:9)

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