Voice of the Martyrs, 25 May 2023
Christians in Algeria report suffering from a systematic campaign of government persecution. Since the end of 2017, the government has reportedly closed 30 of the 47 Protestant churches in the country.
In January 2023, a 54-year-old pastor from a Muslim background was sentenced to two years in prison for holding “unlicensed worship” and “holding worship in a building not designated for non-Muslim worship.” The pastor has been in jail since his arrest on December 30, 2022.
Before the founding of Islam in the seventh century and the subsequent invasion by Arab Muslims, Algeria was inhabited by the Berber people. Today, they live mainly in Algeria’s mountainous Kabylie area in the north, while Arabs inhabit the rest of the country. The Christian faith has a long history in North Africa, especially among ethnic Berbers.
After centuries of oppressive Muslim occupation, public Christian worship and witness have largely disappeared, but many Berbers are now rediscovering their Christian heritage. Churches have seen rapid growth, and Algeria has experienced one of the world’s largest movements of Muslims coming to faith in Christ. Algerian Christians are reaching out boldly to their Muslim countrymen, causing increased persecution in an uncertain political climate.