Algerian Police Shut Down Three More Churches

Sealing of Tafath church in Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria, Oct. 16, 2019. (Morning Star News)

Algerian police closed the Light Church (L’eglise TAFAT or Lumière) in the city of Tizi Ouzou in northern Algeria on 16 October. Worshippers were ordered out of the church, and those who resisted were forcibly evicted.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that on 15 October, two other churches, the Full Gospel Church in Tizi Ouzou and the Source of Life Church in Makouda, were closed by police. The leader of the Source of Life Church, Pastor Nour Eddein Bin Zeid, was served a police summons on the same day that the church was shut down.

CSW said so far, eight churches have been forced to close in Algeria in 2019 alone. On 9 October, church leaders and Christians demonstrated outside the Governorate of Bijaya in northern Algeria, in protest at the mounting crackdown on churches.

The closures are based on a 2006 law entitled ‘Conditions and Rules for the Exercise of Religious Worship other than Islam,’ and known as Ordinance 06-03 of 2006. The law provides that all non-Muslim places of worship must be authorised by the National Commission for Non-Muslim Worship. However, because the Commission does not actually meet, applications for permission to use buildings as churches, or to build new churches, are never considered. The law also criminalises proselytism of Muslims.

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SOURCE: Assist News