Algeria (MNN) — In July, it seemed there might be hope for believers in Algeria when the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA) finally gained recognition by the government after years of struggling to obtain it. It quickly became clear, however, that this freedom only extended so far.
The government has threatened many times in the past to shut down EPA churches which are not registered — try as they might to become so — with the government. When the EPA gained recognition in July, that could've come to an end. But the government chose to withhold recognition from 25 individual EPA churches and reject their applications for registration.
As a result, these Christian churches are still unprotected by the government of the mostly-Muslim nation and could be closed at any time.
Such abrupt decisions have been executed in the past, as in an incident in April in which a church was given 48 hours to shut its doors. The pastor presented documents to the local police department that proved his affiliation with the EPA, but the police commissioner said the documents were not sufficient proof to operate the church.
Algerian authorities base their actions on the discriminatory Ordinance 06-03, which regulates non-Muslim worship. Since 2006, protestant believers have been at the mercy of this strict law, which has prevented them from worshiping freely or legally.
Algeria is ranked No. 22 on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Open Doors, USA is now asking believers to defend Algerian Christians from this oppressive government action. Click here to send a message to Algerian Ambassador Baali asking him to discuss with Algerian authorities the need to rescind Ordinance 06-03 and to overturn the sentence of Karim Siaghi, a believer who was given five years in prison and fined thousands of dollars for giving a Christian CD to a neighbor.
Pray that Christians would boldly proclaim the Gospel and that God would draw many to faith in Christ.