May 31, 2018

ALGERIA: Authorities Force Church Closures

The church of Ait-Mellikeche - World Watch Monitor -
The church of Ait-Mellikeche.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Several churches throughout Algeria have been closed by authorities in recent months, resulting in calls to the government for equal treatment for Protestant Christians. Since November, six churches associated with the l'Eglise Protestante d'Algérie (EPA) have been closed, even though the EPA was officially recognized by the government since 1974. However, in 2012, the government required re-registration and has, to date, not renewed that legal status.

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MAURITANIA: Penalties for Apostasy Increased

Man reading in the desert - The Voice of the Martyrs U.S. -

Christians in Mauritania are concerned about recent changes to the laws regarding religious conversion. On April 27th, the Mauritanian National Assembly approved changes to increase the penalty for apostasy.

According to the new regulations, the death penalty is now mandatory for those convicted of "blasphemous remarks" or "sacrilegious acts." Further, those found guilty of "the breach of prohibitions prescribed by Allah or the facilitation of their non-compliance," or "outrage to public decency and the values of Islam," can face a prison sentence of up to two years, along with a fine.

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EGYPT: Church Temporarily Closed to Keep Peace

Police at the church in Beni Meinin - World Watch Monitor  -
Police were stationed in Beni Meinin
after the attack on the village church.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Since legal changes were recently implemented -- making it easier for churches to obtain permits -- there have been several instances of Muslim villagers opposing the opening of Christian churches. On May 10th, we reported that some were confronted by angry mobs and the subsequent attempts of local officials to resolve the issues through reconciliation. (To review the previous report, see this page.)

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