WHO IS THE LEADER OF ALGERIA?
The leader of Algeria is President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He has been in power since 1999.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN ALGERIA?
There are 125,000 Christians in Algeria. They're a tiny minority, making up 0.3 per cent of the total population of 42 million. Most of them are believers from Muslim backgrounds. The majority of the population are Muslims.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN ALGERIA?
Believers from a Muslim background face pressure from their families and communities, making it difficult to live out their faith. The state adds to this pressure by restricting freedom of religion through legal and administrative bureaucracy. The pressure and danger faced by Christians is particularly high in the rural and more conservative parts of the country.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN ALGERIA?
It isn't illegal to leave Islam in Algeria, but it is illegal to 'shake the faith of a Muslim' or to use 'means of seduction tending to convert a Muslim to another religion'. This means Christians must be very careful about how they share their faith.
Churches are allowed to exist – but only if they agree to the government’s rules. These rules ensure that churches cannot hold Bible studies, host foreigner preachers or even run a Sunday school and so very few churches agree to them.
Persecution often comes from family members if a believer from a Muslim background is discovered to have become a Christian. Church leaders report that female Christians from Muslim backgrounds are sometimes placed under house-arrest by their families when their faith is discovered. They are not allowed to meet other Christians or to have any contact with them. They are not allowed to watch TV or listen to the radio as Christian channels are broadcast into Algeria.
In the Arab parts of the country, persecution is even more severe and converts risk being killed.
Despite all this, the church in Algeria is growing. Most Christians in Algeria come to faith through dreams, visions and Christian broadcasts. Churches send their sermons out of the country to be broadcast back into Algeria over satellite TV. The programmes have contact numbers that you can call if you have questions or want to know more. “Just one of these phone numbers received 960 calls in one month,” said Ali Khidri, who has been a pastor in Algeria for 15 years.
But many of these believers keep their faith hidden. Youssef Ourahmane, another Algerian pastor, shared how he regularly meets Christians who came to faith 10 or 20 years ago, but had never met another Christian until they spoke to him. “They were so scared and hidden they didn’t realise there were other Christians in the country,” said Youssef.
"We’ve seen incredible growth."
- Ali Khidri, ALGERIAN PASTOR
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN ALGERIA?
You can give to provide vital support
Open Doors works with local partners and churches to support the church in Algeria through training, literature distribution, socio-economic development projects and advocacy support.
Give to support persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
You can tell others
Sign up for advocacy alerts for updates on how you can be a voice for our persecuted church family.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR ALGERIA
Lord Jesus, strengthen our brothers and sisters in Algeria. May You restore their faith and hope. Protect all those who must hide their faith from their families, and may the work of those who support believers in Algeria be fruitful.