09/19/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Over 30 graves were desecrated last week at Algeria’s La Reunion War Cemetery, one of the few Christian cemeteries in Oued Ghir. Just a few weeks earlier, another Christian cemetery was vandalized in Ain M’lila. The graves were ransacked and tombstones smashed. Investigators believe that Islamist motives are at play.
While the government is pursuing an investigation, the desecration of these graves come at a time when the Algerian authorities have increasingly harassed the church. During the past year, a number of churches have closed by authorities citing vague safety reasons. Although some have reopened, it is widely believed that these closures are part of a broader strategy pursued by the government to isolate Christian community.
Algeria is a Muslim majority country which is governed by Islamic law. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has repeatedly warned the government against its intimidation of religious minorities, including Christians.
A government who does not treat its citizens equally is encouraging a social atmosphere which ostracizes those sectors of society. Sadly, given the increase of government pressure on the church, it is unsurprising that believers are also facing increased difficulties instigated by their local community. The desecration of graves is a new low and the government must send a strong message that it values all citizens equally and will not tolerate any action that says otherwise.
For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.