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11/08/2023 Algeria (International Christian Concern) – The Algerian government continues its crackdown on churches in the North African nation of 42 million people. House churches can now only have a maximum of ten people per gathering. 

Last year in 2022, Algeria closed at least 16 churches, as a continuation of closures since COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. Government officials have limited house church gatherings to ten people, and several Algerian church leaders were sentenced to prison this week. 

Life for Algerian Christians has been made more difficult since the Hamas-Israeli war. The Algerian government perceives them as supporting Israel in the conflict and as foreign and western influences corrupting the nation’s Islamic national unity.  

Algeria’s main regional rival, Morocco, normalized relations with Israel through the U.S.-led Abraham Accords in 2020. It did so in exchange for U.S. recognition of Morocco’s territorial claim over Western Sahara, a regional conflict opposed by Algeria. 

Christians’ situation in Algeria is further complicated since the majority of Algerian Christians come from the Kabyle ethnic group, where there is a separatist movement against the Algerian central government. 

Algerian Christians’ right to peaceably gather for religious meetings must be upheld even in political turmoil. Christianity in Algeria has a long history, and a distinction must be made by the Algerian government between peaceful practice of Algerian Christians’ faith and political movements in the region.  

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