Algerian authorities ordered the closure of two churches in the Algerian city of Tizi Ouzou
last week for alleged missionary work, according to recent press reports.
The latest closures are a part of an intensive campaign to uncover conversion efforts in many
Algerian provinces, especially tribal areas, resulting in 10 churches receiving orders to close
Ministers of the two Protestant churches in Tizi Ouzou, 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Algiers,
were summoned by the authorities and charged with engaging in illegal practices.
They will hold an emergency meeting to discuss ways of resolving the issue with the authorities,
the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Monday.
Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs, Bouabdallah Ghulamallah, said the latest closure was
ordered under the new 2006 law which limits non-Muslim worship to specific buildings approved
by the state.
The law, which also forbids non-Muslims from seeking to convert Muslims, was prompted by what officials have described as an increase in the activities of Christian evangelical sects.
According to authorities, churches establish places of worship in remote areas, luring Muslims to convert to Christianity by offering them money and jobs in Europe.
Ghulamallah said the churches would reopen as soon as they obtained the required permits.
In an earlier statement, Ghulamallah called the Anglicans in Algeria “outlaws” and accused them
of trying to establish a non-Muslim minority in the country to pave the way for foreign intervention under the pretext of religious persecution.
There have been conflicting reports about the number of Christians in Algeria, which is almost
totally Muslim. According to officials, around 11,000 Christians, including expatriates,
live in the country of 33 million.
But other sources say the number is much higher, attributing the increase to missionary activities.
The tension reached its peak a month ago when Algerian authorities asked the American bishop
Hugh Johnson, 74, to leave the country after his residency expired. Johnson, who has been
living in Algeria for more 45 years, filed a lawsuit and demanded the revocation of his
Source: Christian Breaking News – [email protected]