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ALGERIA: Churches Closed by Pandemic Remain Unopened

ALGERIA: Churches Closed by Pandemic Remain Unopened

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world, places of worship in many nations have been closed to prevent the spread of the virus. In Algeria, all places of worship and entertainment have been closed since March. In August, governing officials decided to gradually reopen places of worship, beginning with large mosques consisting of over a thousand worshippers.

On 27 October, authorities in Tizi Ouzou province, where most Algerian Christians reside, released a list of 183 mosques that have been granted permission to reopen. There has been no mention of any churches being reopened, including the 25 affiliated with the Eglise Protestante d’Algérie (EPA), an umbrella organisation of Protestant churches.

For the past three years, authorities in Algeria have been waging a campaign against the EPA churches, resulting in 13 being forcibly closed, with others receiving orders to cease all religious activities. There are concerns that the pandemic closures may be used as part of this campaign, keeping all the churches in the country closed indefinitely.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray for believers in Algeria who are continuing to persevere and bear witness to God’s love in the midst of intensifying persecution.
  • Pray that Algeria’s governing authorities will treat all citizens equally and allow the closed churches to reopen soon.
  • Pray the country’s Christian leaders will be filled with the wisdom and the peace of God as they confront this difficult situation, and the assurance that ultimately nothing can stop the advancement of His Kingdom.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

ALGERIA: Court Upholds Church Closure Order

ALGERIA: Court Upholds Church Closure Order

The Spring of Life Church in Makouda is the second largest Protestant church in Algeria with about 700 members.

In October 2019, it was ordered to close, along with two other churches. The closures happened under Ordinance 06-03, which states that permission must be obtained before using a building for non-Muslim worship.

Since the ordinance was enacted in 2006, Algerian authorities have failed to respond to any application for permission. As a result, it became common practice to rent a building and then inform local authorities that it is being used as a place of worship. Starting in November 2017, however, authorities began acting on the ordinance by closing many churches.

In response to the closures, ten of the churches filed cases with the administrative courts. The Spring of Life Church recently received a court ruling upholding the order to close. The congregants of other closed churches are concerned that this may set a precedent for similar rules. There are also concerns that this may embolden governors to order more closures.

On the same day that the Spring of Life Church was closed, the Full Gospel of Tizi-Ouzou (the largest Protestant church in Algeria) was also forced to close.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray for church leaders as they seek to deal with these mounting challenges and determine how to carry on with the work of the Gospel.
  • Thank the Lord that no plan of man can come against Him and ask Him to continue to grow the church in Algeria.
  • Pray the country’s governing leaders and court officials will come to understand the importance of religious freedom.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

ALGERIA: Another Church Closed by the Government

ALGERIA: Another Church Closed by the Government

Algerian Christians request prayer for a church in the city of Oran after a court ordered its closure on 12 January. Twelve churches affiliated with the EPA (Église Protestante d’Algérie), the umbrella organisation for Protestant churches, have been ordered to close since November 2017.

In January 2018 this church had been ordered to “regularise” its situation within three months. Restrictions placed on the church at that time included limiting activities to weekly worship only and prohibiting foreigners to serve in the church.

In February 2018, the Governor of Oran issued a closure order and the church was sealed. On 10 June 2018 the church was allowed to reopen. However, in September 2019 the Governor filed a court case against the church asking for its closure because it does not have a licence according to “Ordinance 03-06 to Regulate the Worship of non-Muslim Creeds.”

That ordinance, issued in February 2006, stipulates that permission must be obtained before using a building for non-Muslim worship. However, authorities have failed to grant any permission to churches, including those affiliated with the EPA. Therefore it has become standard practice for churches affiliated with the EPA to rent premises and then to inform municipal and regional security authorities.

This is the second time Algerian courts have ruled that churches are considered illegal if they lack a permission from the “national commission for non-Muslim worship.” The church of Oran will appeal the sentence.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray that the EPA leaders, together with all Algerian Christians, will know God’s strength and wisdom as they respond to current pressures.
  • Pray that the authorities will cease the systematic campaign to close churches and to restrict the freedom of Christians.
  • Pray those responsible for these restrictions will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

ALGERIA: Another Church to be Closed

ALGERIA: Another Church to be Closed

Algerian Christians request continued prayer as the systematic government campaign to close churches escalates. On 17 October, another church was informed that it will soon be closed. Christians, who demonstrated peacefully were then arrested by the police.

Leaders of the church of Freha have been summoned by police and informed the church will be sealed soon.

Because of the ongoing closure campaign, Christians demonstrated outside the Governorate building in Tizi Ouzou on 17 October. Police violently arrested 97 people, injuring some and detaining them for four hours. Some were insulted and physically abused in detention.

Eleven EPA-affiliated churches have been sealed, eight since May 2019. Other churches have been informed they will be sealed soon. Several churches and church institutions have been ordered to cease all activities.

Since November 2017, the government has been engaged in a systematic campaign against Christians. Churches affiliated with the EPA, l’Église Protestante d’Algérie, the legally recognised umbrella organisation of Protestant churches have been challenged to prove they are licensed under a 2006 ordinance regulating non-Muslim worship. However, the government has yet to issue any licence for a church building under this ordinance, ignoring applications from churches to regularise their status.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray that churches and EPA leaders will know the Lord’s peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of growing pressure.
  • Pray the Christians will not be discouraged but will continue to meet and encourage one another in the faith.
  • Pray those responsible for the closure orders would know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

ALGERIA: Another Church Building Forcibly Closed

ALGERIA: Another Church Building Forcibly Closed

Algerian Christians request prayer as the campaign to close churches continues. On 24 September, the police director of Boghni announced that a church building in Boghni had been sealed, based on a closure order issued by the Governor of Tizi Ouzou.

Boghni is located 35 km south of Tizi Ouzou. The church building serves two congregations. Both have been affiliated with the l’Église Protestante d’Algérie (EPA), the legally recognised umbrella organisation of Protestant churches in Algeria, for about ten years. Together, they serve about 380 members.

Since November 2017, the government has been engaged in a systematic campaign against Christians. EPA-affiliated churches have been challenged to prove that they have licences according to the requirement of a 2006 ordinance regulating non-Muslim worship. These regulations stipulate that all places of non-Muslim worship must be licenced. However, the government has yet to issue any licence for a church building under this ordinance, ignoring applications from churches.

This closure raises the number of sealed church buildings affiliated with the EPA, to eight. Another four church groups have been ordered to cease all activities. In at least two cases, authorities have pressured the landlords renting to the churches to deny Christians access to the premises.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray that the church and EPA leaders would know the Lord’s peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of the growing pressure.
  • Pray the authorities will end their systematic campaign to close churches and limit Christians’ freedom to meet.
  • Pray that those responsible for the closure orders will come to know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.

Post your prayer in the comments below.