Algerian church perseveres underground and under pressure

By January 23, 2024
Prayer pixabay

Algeria (MNN) — Christians in Algeria are allowed to practice their faith, but it isn’t made easy for them. Since 2019, Algerian churches have faced forcible closure and opposition from the government — or what Voice of the Martyrs calls “squeeze” persecution. Furthermore, evangelism of Muslims by non-Muslims is prohibited by the nation’s Constitution.

Karim Arezki is a professor of comparative religions involved in the North African Christian community. In a recent conversation with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, he described the big picture this way:

“The underground church and ministries are growing and God is opening many doors through persecution, which is part of our faith. But our leaders and people in our Christian community are tired because of the situation.”

Karim Madi, an Algerian pastor living in Europe, says, “Before 2019 when we could say there was persecution in society and from the family. But after 2019 the persecution started to come from the government.”

With only a few churches open across the country today, many believers meet online or underground.

Arezki says that when Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962, it allowed for more freedom for missionaries. This led to people coming to know Christ, and, eventually, revival.

Photo of Bejaia, Algeria courtesy of SLPix via Pixabay

“In the 1970s, more Algerians were accepting the Lord. But it wasn’t easy. From 1982 until 1999, Christianity was growing, and people of all generations — teenagers, older people, men and women — accepted the Lord. There was a revival in the Kabyle area. In every village, there were underground churches, and they were growing in the Arab areas as well,” says Arezki.

“The revival of Christianity in Algeria started in 1990, with a new generation of believers. This encouraged others in their faith in Jesus and to share, but they paid the price. Some of them went on to have a good position in society, including in the government. The persecution began when it was learned there were many Christians.”

Arezki says Christians lost their jobs and faced verbal and physical abuse when their faith in Christ became known.

“What we see in this second generation of Christians [who are] growing up in Christian homes [is] the fruit because of their faith of their parents, and how they educated their children in school and in faith.”

Pray for Algerian believers as they face pressure from the government in addition to pressure from their family and society. Pray that Muslims will be curious about the Christianity they see and will turn to Christ.

“The persecution isn’t stopping us from our faith. Yes, we have had arrests and we will never know what will happen next. Many churches are closed and few are open. But we have underground churches that continue to practice their faith under these circumstances.”

Find out more about how you can be invested in the persecuted Church at Voice of the Martyrs Canada.



(Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Himsan via Pixabay.)

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