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08/24/2021 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – Last week, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) announced that it would be holding a webinar to highlight the downward trend of religious freedom conditions in Algeria. The government of Algeria has consistently persecuted Christians there by closing down the country’s few Protestant churches and weaponizing its blasphemy law to imprison Christians for their beliefs.

In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that Algeria be added to the State Department’s Special Watch List for countries violating freedom of religion. Although many believed constitutional reform and a new president coming to power in 2019 would bring reform to the country, USCIRF’s report cited blasphemy cases against minority religions and the closure of Evangelical churches as continued violations by the government infringing upon Algerians’ right to believe and worship freely.

Similarly to its utilization in countries like Pakistan and Egypt, the Algerian government is notorious for imprisoning members of minority religions after they are accused of insulting Islam. In the case of Hamid Soudad, an Algerian Christian who had his five-year prison sentence upheld earlier this year, these laws can be used to convict someone simply for sharing a picture of the Prophet Mohammed on social media.

In addition to the discriminatory implementation of the blasphemy law, the Algerian government has prevented Protestant churches from reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic, despite mosques throughout the country being open. As a result, Algerian Protestants are largely deprived of their freedom to worship, a right enshrined in the Algerian Constitution, as well as in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Algeria is a signatory.

International Christian Concern (ICC) recently released an updated brief on the state of religious freedom in Algeria, highlighting the continued concerns for the Christian community there.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].