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Algeria

The Church grew to be very strong in North Africa in the first six centuries after Christ, producing such famous figures as Augustine, Cyprian and Tertullian. Sadly after the Arab-Muslim invasions the Church was eliminated and disappeared for over a thousand years.

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Barnabas supports a kindergarten for
Christian children in Algeria

However, there has been a great work of the Holy Spirit over the last 25 years, and once again many thousands of Christians are to be found among Algeria’s 31 million population, though they are still a tiny minority in a country that is over 99% Muslim. There are no official records of the number of Christians, but it is thought there may be as many as 80,000.

Christians enjoyed six years of relative religious freedom following the end of the civil war in 2000, but in 2006 new restrictions were introduced by the government after pressure from radical Islamists.

Algerian law gives Christians the freedom to practise their faith so long as they respect public order and (Islamic) morality. Conversion from Islam is not illegal, but evangelism to Muslims is prohibited, and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

Mohamed Ibaouene, a Christian convert from Islam in Algeria, was convicted in July 2012 of allegedly pressurising a Muslim to leave Islam. Mohamed said that the Muslim had actually tried to pressure him to return to Islam and had made the accusation only when he refused. Although his jail term was rescinded on appeal, his fine was doubled to 100,000 dinars (around £800; US$1,300).

Other official restrictions on Christian activities include the requirements that all imported Christian literature be approved by the authorities, and that all denominations and places of worship be registered. Many church groups have had official approval withheld for long periods. 

Despite these limitations, many believers practise their faith openly, despite some concerns for their personal safety and possible legal or social problems.

The militant Islamist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is active in Algeria and was responsible for a siege at a gas facility in January 2013 in which 37 foreigners were killed. Its presence and influence threatens the long-term safety of the country’s Christians.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • “We had this feeling that jihadists wanted to wipe out any trace of Christianity in the north of Mali. But God in His goodness has not allowed such an eventuality,” said Dr Yattara, the president of the Baptist Church in northern Mali, to World Watch Monitor in September. He was describing how most of the Christians who had fled the region when Islamist radicals took control in 2012 have now returned to their homes after French troops ousted the Islamists. Many church buildings were desecrated, looted or severely damaged, but the Christians are determined to resume their ministries. Praise God for the continued Christian presence in northern Mali, for the courage of the Christians and for the religious liberty that they have under the law. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 6 hours ago

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    • Churches in Christian-majority Burundi are facing the unfamiliar situation of political restriction by their own government because of a new law passed in August that requires each church to have at least 500 members and a proper building. Congregations have a year in which to comply with the new regulations. Although intended to reduce some scandalous practices, the law is strangely reminiscent of the strict regimes of Central Asia. Pray that religious liberty will be maintained in Burundi, both for Christians and for the small minorities who follow other religions. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

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    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

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