10/18/2020 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – A year has now passed since Algeria closed two of the country’s largest churches, bringing the total number of churches closed by the authorities to thirteen. The remainder were closed by the pandemic, but were all previously visited by the authorities who threatened a persecution-related closure.
Algeria justifies the church closures by citing a 2006 ordinance which the authorities at the time purported would streamline the church registration process by forming a special committee. However, the committee exists only on paper, forcing new churches to gain legalization by affiliating with the already recognized Evangelical Protestant Association. However, these churches were also targeted by the authorities during the latest round of church closures. The pandemic further complicated this situation, accomplishing what the authorities had long threatened.
Now the country is an extra period of uncertainty. The country is expected to vote on a new constitution in a few weeks. It includes a change of language which on the one hand, weakens religious freedom. But on the other hand, mentions places of worship directly. The Algerian church is asking for prayer as the combination of all of these challenges make it hard for the church to understand how to move forward.