01/30/2019 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – This past October, Algerian authorities sealed a church in the Kayblie region. The Church of Azagher has about 300 members, and they began meeting in a tent erected in the church’s front yard after the building was closed. On January 28, the tent’s owner was informed by the National Gendarmerie that the tent must be dismantled.
This congregation was visited by a so called “building safety committee” in December 2017. They were later informed that the church lacked certain safety protocols, such as emergency exits and fire extinguishers. The church fixed those issues. However, they were also warned of violations regarding foreign visitors and that they were using a building designated for commercial use (poultry production). The authorities sealed the church in October 2018, leaving the congregation to worship outside.
Algeria uses building safety committees to shutter churches indefinitely. The authorities also create substantial obstacles for the opening of new churches, making it impossible and leaving Christians to worship in buildings intended for other uses. The authorities have heavily cracked down on churches within the past year.
For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.