09/04/2019 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – After Algerian Christians successfully prevented a church closure in Ighzer Amokrane on August 26, police discretely sealed the building shut early in the morning on September 2.
Algerian officials mandated that the property owner accompany them to the church site, doing so before 7:00 am to avoid any disputes. Church leaders and members found the door sealed later that day, according to a report from Morning Star News.
Both the Ighzer Amokrane church and a church in Akbou received notification on August 10, noting the intent to close the buildings. When the prior church was notified of the officials predicted arrival last Sunday, Christians from 33 churches filled the premises in protest. Many also pointed out that the order was not valid, as it was not endorsed by the proper court.
Police reportedly acted slowly over the past month to allow church leaders time to adjust and discuss with authorities prior to the official closure.
On August 27, the Akbou church property owner unknowingly signed closure orders. Again, Christians in the community were called upon to stand with the building to avoid closure. Although no authorities arrived on that day, security agents continue to send threats to the property owner.
Akbou church and another in Maatkas are under a constant threat of closure, unsure of when their place of worship will be taken from them. The possibility of imprisonment loams over their heads.
In November 2017 Algerian authorities began investigating and closing several churches linked to the Protestant Church, under the guise of building-safety regulations. Under a 2006 law, non-Muslim worship must be done in specially designated buildings. In nearly two years, ten churches received closure orders, of which seven were officially sealed.
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