Peaceful protest leads to more church closures in Algeria, leaders say

A Christian protest against efforts to close churches in Algeria resulted in an Oct. 13 order to close more churches, according to Salah Chalah, head of the Protestant Church of Algeria (l’Église Protestante d’Algérie or EPA) umbrella group. 

Chalah said the order to close the Protestant Church of the Full Gospel of Tizi-Ouzou came in retaliation for a peaceful sit-in Christians organized in the Bejaia Province on Oct. 9.

Since November 2017 authorities in the northwestern African nation have closed at least 11 churches with at least three more in danger of closure. Officials also have restricted the import of Bibles and other Christian literature.

Islam is the state religion in Algeria, where 99% of the population of 40 million are Muslim. 

Since 2000, however, thousands of Algerian Muslims have put their faith in Christ. 

Algeria ranked 22nd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. (MS)