North Africa (MNN) — An Algerian Christian refugee remains in the crossfire as power balances shift in North Africa.
Three men kidnapped Suleiman Bouhafs last year and brought him to Algeria, where he faces criminal charges for his faith. According to the US Commission for International Freedom (USCIRF), Bouhafs faces six charges, including “insulting the Prophet Muhammed.”
He was living in Tunisia under refugee protection from the United Nations after fleeing persecution in Algeria several years ago. MENA Leadership Center’s Fadi Sharaiha says Bouhafs’ case is a concerning departure from the norm in Tunisia.
“Tunisia is one of the most advanced countries in the Arab world. Whenever we talk about human rights and freedom of thought, Tunisia is an excellent country, in that sense,” Sharaiha explains.
More than a year after Bouhafs’ abduction, Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed says he’ll investigate following pressure from human rights watchdogs.
MLC connects leaders with legal help
Analysts describe closer political ties between Tunisia and Algeria, raising concern about Tunisia’s human rights and religious freedom. MLC courses provide essential help and resources for Christian leaders in both countries. Learn more here.
“One amazingly important course describes how to navigate [the legal system] in a country that is anti-Christian. [The course teaches leaders] how to navigate within the laws, the lobbying, advocacy; who to call whenever something bad happens,” Sharaiha says.
“We have amazing instructors who have been in this field for many years. Some of them are internationally recognized lawyers within the UN.”
Pray the Lord will do something miraculous to help Suleiman Bouhafs. Additionally, “please pray for Christians to be united in those countries (Algeria and Tunisia); pray for them to be rooted in Christ,” Sharaiha requests.
“Pray for boldness and courage [for] reaching out to other people as well. [In North Africa,] being a vocal Christian is more challenging.”
In the header image, Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui and Tunisian Interior Minister Hichem Fourati, during the first joint meeting between Tunisia and Algeria on October 6, 2018. (Wikimedia Commons)