Largely dormant for more than 10 years, a law in Algeria which permits the outright persecution of Christians is shaking back into life.
But even after 2006, when laws controlling non-Islamic worship were introduced, the former French colony tended to continue its largely tolerant attitude towards minorities.
‘Since November last year they have been cracking down on the churches,’ says Ali Khidri, general secretary of the Bible Society in Algeria….With presidential elections looming next year and the government under pressure from the Islamist MSP opposition party, ministers are using the 12-year-old legislation to instill a new crackdown on churches.
The 2006 law means non-Islamic worship can only take place in buildings officially sanctioned by the government’s National Commission on Religious Worship. Those gathering in ‘house churches’ could face a prison sentence of between one and three years and a fine of between 20,000 and 60,000 AD ($1,400-$4,200).