Algeria’s Christians are forced to live in an environment hostile to religious minorities, and Muslim converts to Christianity are especially at risk. The law does not prohibit conversions, but proselytizing of Muslims by non-Muslims is considered a criminal offense. This includes storing or distributing documents which could “shake the faith” of a Muslim. Social hostility also makes it difficult for Christians to rent homes, find jobs, and establish places of worship.
09/21/2017 Algeria (The North Africa Post) – Algeria has been repeatedly lambasted in reports by international rights watchdogs for its systematic discrimination against minorities, whether religious, linguistic or ethnic. Intolerance towards minorities is espoused at the state level as evidenced by the growing religious intolerance and persecution targeting the Ahmadi community, among other communities.
Recently, HRW raised the alarm concerning the discrimination endured by religious minorities in Algeria following the arrest of the President of the Ahmadi sect Mohamed Fali on August 28 who is now in a prison in Mostaganem after he had been handed a 3-year jail sentence in absentia.
Scores of other Ahmadis have been imprisoned since June 2016 in a context where religious intolerance is espoused at the highest level of the state with government officials claiming that Ahmadis represent “a threat to the majority Sunni Muslim faith,” HRW said in a statement.
Facets of state persecution of this sect include denial of granting the right of forming associations or building mosques. Algerian authorities have also discriminated against the members of this sect in the civil service and officials have indulged in hateful speech against this community.
Algerian Christians and Jews, for their part, are threatened both by the state and fundamentalists. In its latest edition, the US Report on Religious Freedom in the Middle East indicates that Algerian Jews and some Algerian Muslims who converted to Christianity kept a low profile due to concern for their personal safety and potential legal and social problem.
According to Open Doors, an NGO monitoring religious rights, Christians in Algeria are facing increasing societal discrimination when it comes to renting homes, finding jobs and securing land or property to use as a place of worship.