Christians Crackdown Church Closed Down for Printing Gospel Teachings

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In the Muslim dominated country of Algeria, the church had allegedly printed off the teachings for a sermon which was gripped by Islamist terror movements.

Authorities claim the church in Ain Turk (capital of Ain el-Turck District located about 15 km from Oran in the north west of Algeria) has been closed down by local authorities for illegally printing of Gospels and publishing for evangelism.

Christians Crackdown Church Closed Down for Printing Gospel Teachings

The church is affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria (known as EPA which is its French acronym), was sealed off by police on 9 Nov.17.

Police say that the Protestant Church of Algeria does not have state approval despite Reverend Mahmoud Haddad (church president) saying that it has been recognized by the government since 1974. He said the reasons for closing the church were unfounded and denied any wrongdoings in the church.

He said that the church community is accredited with both the Ministry of the Interior and the local government. There is no printing activity of Gospels or Christian publications inside these premises.

He pointed to several anomalies and falsehoods in the notification which stated that the church of Ain Turk belonged to a man named Rachid, who serves there as a pastor.

Youssef (board member at Aïn Turk church) said that the notification is based on false motives.
People who are converted to Christianity living in Algeria face pressure from their families to recant their faith. In 2016 a Christian man was sentenced to five years in jail for blasphemy against Islam on social media.

According to charity Open Doors (A non denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in over 60 countries) the vast majority of Muslims adhere to Sunni Islam and there are around 37,700 Christians in Algeria.

The charity says the country law makes it impossible for churches to operate publicly while it is dominated by growing Islamist terror movements particularly, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

As part of the crackdown, a number of churches have been ordered to cease all religious activities on the grounds that they were in breach of a 2006 law which regulates non Muslim worship.

In May, the human rights situation in Algeria was debated by the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The session was attended by the president of the EPA, and raised hope among the Christian community, which expected positive changes. A new Constitution, passed in February 2016, established freedom of religious worship. Article 36 states that freedom of religious worship is guaranteed in compliance with the law.

Moreover, EPA international partners planning to visit churches in Algeria have seen their visa application denied.