Algerian Christians request prayer as the church continues to face pressure from the authorities. On 8 September, a popular Algerian daily newspaper reported that an order had been sent to regional Governors and security heads, directing them to intensify investigation into the financial activities of Protestant leaders.
According to the article, the Minister of Interior, as head of the National Security Committee, issued the order on 28 August. The title of the order translates as “The activities of religious groups that contradict national religious constants, in particular their destructive/subversive attempts in this period the country is going through.” The article refers to three groups, the Protestant Church (l’Église Protestante d’Algérie or EPA), and two radical Islamic groups known for their aggressive agendas.
The order was sent to the Walis (Governors), the General Director of Internal Security, the Director of the Gendarmerie and the Director of National Security. It calls the Protestant church a radical movement and claims Protestant leaders intend to tailor a “vicious plan … supported by foreign parties …” to spread “destructive ideas.” It accuses the church of taking advantage of the current political situation to implement such subversive plans.
The order then instructs the heads of security to “strengthen with all harshness, activities aiming at investigating the commercial activities of Protestant leaders,” referring to the financing of churches.
The article claims that reports about restrictions on religious freedom in Algeria, received from churches, are false. It further suggests that a negative UN report issued in 2018 was influenced by churches pursuing a political agenda.
Since November 2017, Algerian authorities have been involved in a systematic campaign against Christians. At least six EPA-affiliated churches have been sealed by authorities. Other churches have received written orders to cease all activities. Several court cases against Christians and church leaders were launched.
In these difficult times, Algerian Christians urge us to pray that:
- church and EPA leaders would know the Lord’s peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of growing pressure
- the authorities will end their systematic campaign to close churches and limit Christians’ freedom to worship
- this attempt to incite hatred towards Protestant churches and Christians will not be successful
- those responsible for the campaign against Christians would know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.