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01/04/2019 Algeria (International Christian Concern) –  Algerian Pastor Rabah Messaoudi received an official notice on December 30th that the authorities have ordered his church to close, according to Morning Star News. The church, which is located in Ait-Jimaa village in north-central Algeria, has faced ongoing legal challenges since 2016.

An official of the Ait-Bouadou Commune (county) had ordered the Pastor to close his church in 2016, arguing that the building permit was only intended for residential and commercial activities. Algeria’s 2006 Law on Religion requires non-Muslim places of worship to officially register with the government. However, permission is rarely granted, assuming that the government even responds to registration requests.

The situation was then referred to the judicial process, and Pastor Rabah won the case in 2017. His church is affiliated with the Protestant Church of Algeria, which is a legally recognized church. Local officials, however, refuse to acknowledge the court’s decision in favor of Pastor Rabah. The notice to close the church was issued in October 2018, but was not received until December 30, 2018. The church intends to appeal the notice.

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