03/30/2022 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – Today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with government officials in the Algerian capital of Algiers regarding the bilateral relationship between their two countries. Although the trip is primarily aimed at discussing regional security and commercial cooperation, many onlookers hope that Secretary Blinken will also address the increasing persecution against the Protestant Christian community in Algeria.
Secretary Blinken’s trip comes on the heels of Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s meeting with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune this month, during which Sherman emphasized the importance of religious freedom in the region.
As Blinken meets with his counterparts in Algiers, Algeria’s Protestant Christian community continues to be persecuted through governmental regulations and arrests. At least 16 churches around the country have been closed or threatened with closure, all of which are associated with the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA). These closures have forced several EPA pastors and brothers to preach outside of their church buildings, leading to their arrest under Algeria’s strict anti-conversion laws.
As a result of the continually worsening religious freedom landscape in Algeria, the State Department added Algeria to its Special Watch List for countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has also repeatedly expressed concerns regarding the increasing persecution of Algeria’s Protestant Christian community.
International Christian Concern urges Secretary Blinken to discuss these concerns regarding persecution in Algeria in meetings with Algerian leaders to ensure that religious freedom is protected throughout the country.
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