How many Christians are there in Algeria?
There are around 134,000 Christians in Algeria, making them a tiny minority in the country (0.3%). The majority of people are Muslim.
How are Christians persecuted in Algeria?
Algeria’s tiny population of Christians are facing increasing obstacles to religious freedom.
Laws regulating non-Muslim worship ban anything that would ‘shake the faith of a Muslim’ or be used as ‘a means of seduction intending to convert a Muslim to another religion’. Consequently, Christians are acutely vulnerable to prosecution under blasphemy and proselytising charges.
Meanwhile, the authorities continue to systematically close protestant churches. Thirteen churches that had been forcibly closed remain shut, whilst another three have since been closed.
Most Christians are converts from Islam and face strong opposition from their family and community. This can involve harassment, beatings, forced marriage, imprisonment, even death. The hostility is especially acute in the rural and religiously more conservative parts of the country. In the 1990s, these regions acted as a stronghold for Islamist insurgents in the fight against the government.
Meet Pastor Rachid
“This is purely an attack against us Algerian Christians and the churches’” PASTor rachid
What’s life like for Christians in Algeria?
The closure of churches and clampdown on activities that could offend, or seek to convert, Muslims are two of the key reasons that Algeria is number 22 on the World Watch List.
These pressures are epitomised in the troubles facing Pastor Rachid. He leads a church and runs a bookshop that sells Bibles and other Christian books. In February 2021, he and his assistant Nouh were convicted of proselytising and selling books that ‘shake the faith of Muslims’. They were fined and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. This was later reduced on appeal to one-year suspended sentences. The two men continue to appeal the verdict.
Rachid's church was also forcibly closed and sealed in July 2021 – one of 16 across the country in recent years.
How can I help Christians in Algeria
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Algeria. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, pastoral care and prayer support.
Father God, thank You that, even if churches are closed, nothing can stand in the way of Your children knowing and loving You. Please speak clearly and tenderly to our brothers and sisters who struggle to worship together, and who face such terrible persecution from their families and communities. Provide ways for Christians to worship together and to share the good news of the gospel, and bring breakthrough in places of authority so that laws and regulations opposing Christian practice will be overturned. Amen.