Algeria, Algiers closes another two churches: the reasons are still unknown

Algeria PoliceAlgerians have been on the streets protesting against the dictatorial regime. The latter has shown no qualms in toying with identity sensitivity to divide and fragment the popular movement that led to Bouteflika’s resignation and continues to destabilize his Machiavellian plans.

The regime has already tried to exploit the imams, to convince people that the demonstrations are illicit from a religious point of view – but this has failed; it has imprisoned several activists for the display of the Berber flag and the Amazigh emblem [a term with which the native population defines itself ed], represented as a danger to national unity.

Yesterday the government, which has no legitimacy in the eyes of the Algerians, has decided to close the largest Protestant religious building in Algeria – the Church of the Gospel of Tizi Ouzou (capital of the northern province of the same name).

This community has existed for 23 years and has 1,200 faithful. According to representatives, yesterday, “the security services informed the leaders of the Church of Tizi Ouzou that they will proceed to close the place of worship. We remain confident, the Lord is faithful! “.

It should be noted that the same fate occurred in the Church of Makouda, located in the same province: the faithful received the closing order by Tuesday 15 October. On the same day, the national guard sealed the structure.[i]

The Ministry of the Interior gave no reasons for this arbitrary decision. In fact, it is not the first time that the political system attacks churches, accuses them of “planning a new strategy to implement hostile plans, with the support of foreign actors” and taking advantage of the political situation in the country.

From January 2018, 15 churches have been shut down for unknown reasons. In reality, such closures are nothing but an attempt to push people to violence, since the pacifism of demonstrations unnerves this regime. In other words, the soldiers – who hold real power in Algeria – wanted to create a context of violence that would justify a state of emergency. This means prohibiting demonstrations.

In Bejaia, a town near Tizi Ouzou, the church’s religious leaders gathered with posters that mention the name and where their community is located. With banners and songs, they wish to appeal to public opinion: some places of worship remain closed by the authorities. They simply call for the reopening of their churches, as required by the Algerian Constitution[ii].

The Christians of Algeria live in difficult times; we Muslim fellow citizens must remain at their side, support them and show that they are our brothers and Algerians in their own right. Together, we must resist those who want to divide us to govern more easily.