Algeria (MNN) — Christian leaders in Algeria are calling
for prayer support following recent threats to religious freedom. A lengthy media campaign has been questioning
the growth of Christianity in the Muslim country. That prompted the government
to plant informants among the believers and ministries.
The Algerian minister of religious affairs is on record
claiming evangelists are offering 5,000 Euros (about $7,700) to any Muslim who
converts. Church workers are concerned
this accusation is aimed at erasing any kind of non-Muslim presence in the
SAT-7's David Harder says, "It does seem like the
government is taking steps to make it more difficult for Christians. There is a new law that was passed and
really, the churches and the Christians there are trying to feel how that new
law will affect them."
The anti-conversion law in question was passed in 2006. That makes ministry very difficult. Violators of the law face a five-year jail
sentence and a 1 million dinar fine (about $15,000) for anyone who tries to
convert a Muslim to another religion.
Many church activities are now considered illegal if they
can be construed as being something that could "shake the faith of a
Muslim." Christians account for
less than one percent of the total population, and this is seen as a serious
threat to religious freedoms that may have existed at one time.
However, SAT-7 is stepping up to fill the discipleship
gap. Harder says, "We've been
receiving some reports that some churches that have been ordered to be closed,
that there have been some arrests of Christians." However, he goes on to say, "We
know we have viewers in Algeria. Every
week we get responses from people who say how much they appreciate the
broadcasts on SAT-7 and how much they're learning about the Lord. So we hope
and pray that what is happening will just be a temporary situation."
Pray for the strength and courage for Christians in Algeria
to reach out with the Gospel of Christ. Pray
that SAT-7's ministry will provide solid
biblical teaching and encouragement for these believers.