Islam is the official state religion of Algeria. Official estimates are that 99% of the 400 million residents are Muslim. The Christian population is estimated to be about 50,000, although the exact number is difficult to ascertain.
The charges were leveled against him following a dinner at the home of friends who are Christians.
Rachid’s wife objected when the conversation evolved into testimonies of the grace of God and the love of Christ. Although the conversation was upbeat, pleasant, and largely anecdotal – one that would be normal among Christians – Rachid’s wife became irritated, claiming that the dinner was really a trap to evangelize her. She shouted loud enough for people outside the house to hear.
“You have brought me here to convert me and to deny my religion. You laid a trap for me!”
She fled to her parents’ home nearby. When she shared her offense with her family, her brothers insisted that she press charges against Rachid and their dinner host, Ali Larchi.
The complaint cites the controversial Law 03/06 which makes it a criminal offense for anyone who :
“…incites, constrains, or utilizes means of seduction tending to convert a Muslim to another religion, or using for this purpose the institutions of education, health, social, cultural, or educational institutions, or other establishment, or financial advantage; or makes, stores or distributes printed documents or films or other audiovisual medium or means intended to undermine the faith of a Muslim.”
Algerian Christians cite Law 03/06 as unconstitutional because Article 42 of the Algerian constitution guarantees “freedom of belief, opinion, and worship.”
Conviction on these charges includes two to five years imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 to one million Algerian dinars. The fine is roughly equivalent to a range from $4,400 to $8,700 US dollars.
Here is the interesting part. At the hearing, the trial date was postponed to November 6th – at the complainant’s request.
On October 8th, Rachid received a call from his wife. She told him that she had not really wanted to press charges but did so under pressure from her brothers.
“I’m stuck between my family and my husband, I do not know what to do.”
If his wife recants, the charges will be dropped.
What a wonderful opportunity for Missions Box readers to pray for the Lord to work in her heart and change the outcome. Let’s agree together in prayer over these next several weeks.
To read more news on Algeria on Missions Box, go here.
- God Reports, Christian husband on trial for evangelizing his wife
- Morning Star News, Christians Face Trial in Algeria over Wife’s Accusations of Evangelizing
- By Mus52 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons