Algerian Christians request prayer for Pastor Rachid Seighir of a church in Oran, and a salesman who assists him in a book and stationery shop the pastor manages.
Both were convicted in absentia on 27 February of “proselytising”, sentenced to two years in prison and fined approximately $5,200.
When the bookshop was raided in September 2017, police found Christian books, publications (including Bibles) and printing machines. Following the raid, the Governor of Oran ordered the bookshop to be closed.
Source: Middle East Concern
In December 2018, a court decided that the closure order was faulty due to procedural issues. Despite that decision, the bookshop was not allowed to reopen. The pastor and bookshop salesman were charged with “agitating the faith of Muslims” under the law governing non-Muslim worship. Article 11.2 of that law forbids
“… printing, storing, or distributing materials to convert or to “impugn/shake” the faith of a Muslim”.
Pastor Rachid was convicted on the same charges in 2008 but was acquitted on appeal. They will also appeal this verdict.
In February Pastor Rachid gave an interview to a Christian newspaper about a blasphemy case. A man from his church was given a five-year sentence and a fine because of a cartoon that was deemed insulting of the Prophet of Islam.
In the past few months, two other Christians have also been convicted of blasphemy, receiving prison sentences. After easing COVID-19 prevention measures, the government allowed other worship places to reopen, but not Protestant churches.
Let us pray.
- Pray that Pastor Rachid, his assistant and the Algerian church leadership will know the peace of Jesus, the wisdom of the Father and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in dealing with this situation.
- Pray these men will be acquitted from all charges on appeal.
- Pray that despite the opposition to the Gospel, the church will grow exponentially in Algeria, through the witness of believers and by the power of the Holy Spirit.