What does persecution look like in Algeria?
In Algeria, persecution is driven by society and extremist Islamic teachers who exert influence over state authorities. This means Christians experience persecution from their families, their communities and the government.
Most Algerian Christians are converts from Islam. They face harassment and discrimination in their daily lives, and their families and community may try to force them to continue to adhere to Islamic norms and practices. They also face pressure—from both the government and their surrounding communities—to renounce their faith in Jesus and return to Islam.
Additionally, state pressure has increased on Protestant Christians to a level not seen in decades. Previously closed church buildings are still shut down, and many other churches were ordered to close. The government threatened to prosecute some church leaders if their churches continued to meet.
Algeria has laws restricting non-Muslim worship, including rules that prohibit anything that would "shake the faith of a Muslim" or could be used as a "means of seduction intending to convert a Muslim to another religion." These vague laws can be used to pressure Christians to keep their faith quiet and to discourage anything outside of the majority faith.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Most Christians live in the north of Algeria—an environment that has allowed Christian community to develop, although pressure from both government and society remains strong.
In other parts of the country, especially in the south, circumstances are difficult for Christians, with a very low number of available churches. While violent Islamic militants don't have a wide support base among the general population, radical Muslim teachers exert an increasing influence over the Algerian government and society.
“The biggest challenge is that I have to live with a dual identity, which means Christian at home and Muslim outside.”Naasima, a Christian woman living in North Africa
What has changed this year?
State pressure on Protestant Christians has increased to a level not seen in years. While recent years have witnessed multiple church closures (and those churches have remained closed), the tactics seemed to change during the 2024 World Watch List reporting period. Instead of officially sealing church buildings as in recent years, the government began threatening church leaders with prosecution if their churches did not cease meeting. Now, only four out of the 47 churches under the umbrella of the Evangelical Protestant Church of Algeria remain open. Other churches also stopped meeting because they were afraid of a government crackdown. Several Christians also received suspended prison sentences.
Otherwise, pressure remained high in all parts of life for Algerian Christians. Like much of North Africa, following Jesus in Algeria remains very difficult.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Algeria?
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership and discipleship training, livelihood support, legal aid, trauma counseling, Bibles and pastoral care.
How can you pray for Algeria?
- Please pray that God would be with Algerian church leaders and Christians who have seen their churches close. Ask God to intervene and help believers find a way to meet together.
- Pray for Christians who are accused or suspected of breaking the regulation making it illegal to “shake the faith of a Muslim.” Pray these believers would not be unfairly targeted and the unjust laws would be overturned.
- Ask that every Christian in Algeria would be able to worship freely with other Christians. Pray that God would protect them from abuse and oppression from family and community.
Dear Lord, we ask that You would be near to our brothers and sisters in Algeria. We pray for all converts. As they grow in the ways of Christ, keep them safe from harm and encourage them even as they endure pressure and discrimination. We pray especially for church leaders, God, as they see how many churches are closed, and may risk imprisonment just to continue to meet together. Give Your church in Algeria grace and comfort. Finally, we pray for the country's leaders, that You would soften their hearts and that they would allow Your people to worship freely and openly, without threat of arrest or harassment. We pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.