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Algerian believers face diminishing freedoms

ICC Note:

As reports spread about the growth of the Christian church in Algeria, Muslim leaders are pressuring authorities to oppose Christian evangelism. The government is using informants to monitor and report on church activity – causing some to lose their jobs and others to face fines and imprisonment for “insulting Islam” by evangelizing Muslims.

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4/2/08 Algeria (MNN) Political parties are already gearing up for battle for next spring’s elections in Algeria. The oppositional party, Rally for Culture and Democracy, began their campaign asking for international observers at those elections.

Operation Mobilization says there is a religious battle going on, too. Muslim leaders are using media and informants and putting pressure on authorities to help restrict Christian evangelism.

At least six churches have been forced to close when asked to provide their license and authorization, even though none is required at this point.

This may be, in part, due to the increasing number of articles in the newspaper focusing on the growth of the Christian church. Government informants have attended church services and later reported in detail, putting pressure on Christians.

One group of three Christians is accused of insulting Islam and evangelizing Muslims. They face prison time and fines. Another believer, who was detained last summer, is told that he will serve at least one year in prison. This case is similar to several others in which people who went through trials before without punishment are now being called for new trials.

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