Jul 14, 2021 | Freedom of Religion and Belief | HRWF
On 7 July three churches in the Oran area were sealed, bringing the number of sealed churches to 16. Christians in Algeria ask for prayer for the on-going campaign against the church that started in 2017.
The three churches are the city church or Oran (L’Oratoire), the Ain Turk House of Hope and a church in El Ayaida. They were previously closed by order of the Governor of Oran in 2017 and 2018. They re-opened in 2018, but the Governor filed a court case in August 2019 asking to close them again.
On 4 June 2021, the administrative court of Oran (415 km west of Algiers) ordered these churches closed. This order was implemented on 7 July.
In November 2017 Algerian authorities started a campaign to close churches, using a national ordinance which stipulates that permission must be obtained before using a building for non-Muslim worship. National authorities have failed to respond to any application for permission since the ordinance was enacted in 2006. Therefore, it has become standard practice to rent premises and inform only the local authorities that they are being used as places of worship.