ALGERIA – In an unprecedented crackdown on Algerian Christians, 8 churches have been shut down in the North African nation in this year alone.
Just last week worshipers were forcibly removed from church services by police.
The church closure are based around a law from 2006 which prevents any new non-Muslim places of worship which haven’t been authorised by a special commission, although several of the churches have been regularly holding services for many years.
Help The Persecuted President and CEO Joshua Youssef is calling on the international community to act swiftly to prevent this persecution.
There are serious concerns for Christians in Algeria following one of the most extreme crackdowns on believers in the country following a series of church closure. According to reports there are now only 2 congregations open in this trouble region.
In just two days three churches were shutdown with worshippers ordered out of the building, and those who resisted forcibly evicted.
Help the Persecuted CEO and President Joshua Youssef says despite these challenges the Christians there are standing strong for the sake of the Gospel.
“They take very bold positions. More so that some of the other states that I’ve worked in. They’re willing to share. They want these videos shared. They want people talking about it. In some case in other states I’ve seen where there’s a little bit more timidity the Algerians just don’t back down.”
Youssef says there is concern though that this persecution could escalate even further already with evidence of severe violence against church leaders.
“Well one of the images that we received from my colleague was the senior pastr in the church of Tizi Ouzou, they beat this man’s leg. He said that they were trying to break his leg. And I think that physical violence has already been seen. We know they’re capable of it. But I also think they could start to go after family members and extended family members of these pastors and start to apply different types of pressure. And already this has gone beyond what Algeria has faced prior to this.”
Help the Persecuted plans to help the Algerian believers with practical support, but for now the priority is to alert people across the globe to this crisis.
“Right now our team leader in Algeria is focussed on purely getting this message out and letting people know what is happening. There will come a time I think when the cases start to come to us where we will step in an financially assist and help these people but at this point in time it is all hands on deck as it relates to getting the word out.”
Youssef concluded by sharing how people across the world can help put pressure on the Algerian government to end this persecution.
“England, the US, Canada, Australia, they have religious freedom offices within their state departments within their respective foreign ministries and we need to let them know that this is happening and for pressure to be applied internationally. But more importantly we as believers need to be praying for our Algerian brothers and sisters. This could escalate. This could go in a direction that nobody wants. But the Algerian church is apparently will to take this risk.
To read more news on Christian Persecution on Missions Box, go here.
- Global News Alliance, More Church Closures in Major Crackdown on Algerian Christians
- Help The Persecuted, Official Website