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ICC Note:

Algerian authorities are persisting in their efforts to close churches whose congregants worship in nonreligious buildings, citing a 2006 law which regulates non-Muslim worship. Churches cite the 2016 constitution which allows for religious freedom if it complies with the law, and these churches have followed the law because they are affiliated with the Protestant Church of Algeria which is officially recognized by the government. Some church congregations continue to hold church in these buildings despite the dispute, but they do so with the knowledge that the future is not guaranteed. Many Christians worship in secret because of these kinds of restrictions, causing them to live in fear of discovery.

 

11/06/2017 Algeria (Chretiens Journal) – Authorities in the province of Tizi Ouzou continue to order the closure of churches that gather in shelters or for trade because they would violate a 2006 law regulating non-Muslim worship. Christians, for their part, invoke the 2016 constitution which states that religious freedom is guaranteed if it is in accordance with the law.

According to World Watch Monitor, churches in northern Algeria continue to clash with the authorities over permission to worship in non-religious buildings.

According to the authorities of the province of Tizi Ouzou, a town located 100 km from Algiers, Christians, meeting in houses only for commercial purposes or accommodation, violate a law of 2006 that regulates non-religious cults.

For their part, the churches cite the 2016 Constitution that religious freedom is guaranteed if it complies with the law. However, this compliance with the law requires the official affiliation of churches to the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA), officially recognized by the government since 1974. This is the case.

Yet some churches are forced to close their doors despite joining the EPA, as is the case, for example, with one of the churches in Ait Bouadou commune that uses a rented house on behalf of the EPA. . The church, which opened in December 2015 had to close two months later, says World Watch Monitor following complaints from local.

Last September, the church received a letter from the mayor, again indicating that the church was unauthorized and demanding closure because the house was originally intended for “residential or commercial use.”

The church of more than 200 people continues to meet while his head seeks legal advice.

A second church in the center of Tizi Ouzou was summoned by the authorities on 18 October. She too was asked to “comply with the provisions of the 2006 law”.

The pastor of the 100-member Boghni church, which has been active for several years, said he had “explained to the local government chief (Daira) that we are an EPA affiliated community and that we are meeting in accordance with to the law ” .

The church has submitted documents to authorities, showing affiliation to the EPA, and continues to meet.

In 2017, convocations were sent to the churches of Ait Djima and Maatkas, also in Tizi Ouzou.

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