Algerian believers face diminishing freedoms

By April 2, 2008

Algeria (MNN) — Political parties are already gearing up for battle for next spring's elections in Algeria. The oppositional party, Rally for Culture and Democracy, began their campaign asking for international observers at those elections.

Operation Mobilization
says there is a religious battle going on, too. Muslim leaders are using media and informants and putting pressure on authorities to help restrict Christian evangelism. 

At least six churches have been forced to close when asked to provide their license and authorization, even though none is required at this point. Large, respected
congregations in the Kabyle Mountains have always been able to meet regularly. However, now less than half of the original members are attending. 

This may be, in part, due to the increasing number of articles in the newspaper focusing on the growth of the Christian church. Government informants have attended church services and later reported in detail, putting pressure on Christians.      

Informants used film of a pastor and his colleague singing alongside children in his church to confirm their accusations that he was evangelizing the students in the school where he worked.  The men eventually lost their jobs at the school, and the church was closed.

There are several others standing trial. One group of three Christians is accused of
insulting Islam and evangelizing Muslims. They face prison time and fines. Another believer, who was detained last summer, is told that he will serve at least one year in prison. This case is similar to several others in which people who went through trials
before without punishment are now being called for new trials.    

Even during the terrorist attacks of the 1990's, the church was not a target.

Algerian believers are asking you to pray.

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