Algeria Court Stops Christian Worship in Home

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Algeria has laws which are intended to prevent non-Muslims from worshiping in unregistered churches. However, the committee formed in 2006 which is supposed to register churches has never meet.

An Algerian judge has issued a two month suspended prison sentence and hefty fine of 100,000 dinars ($840 USD) on a Christian who was holding worship in his home. Just four days earlier, a separate judge had fined a landowner whose property was used by a church.

In the first case, the man’s sentence was significantly less than the prosecutor was intending. The man had invited a Christian couple to come and pray with him. Algeria has laws which are intended to prevent non-Muslims from worshiping in unregistered churches. However, the committee formed in 2006 which is supposed to register churches has never meet.

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The second case is a continuation of a church closure incident that occurred in October 2018. This church is technically legal, but the authorities closed it. The congregation then began worshiping in a tent on the land. The judge fined the landowner 50,000 dinars, or $420 USD. The landowner is appealing the sentence on the basis that it is within his property rights to make his land available to the church.

A third incident is also in the early stages. On June 20, a pastor of a church in Makouda was summoned after local officials sealed his church. Prosecutors are seeking a fine of 500,000 dinars ($4,200 USD). This church is legally recognized and has over 300 members.

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Algeria ranks 22 on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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