Local authorities shut down a church in Algeria on November 9, 2017 after accusing the church of printing religious publications illegally, reports World Watch Monitor.
The church is located in the northwestern town of Aïn Turk, about nine miles from the coastal city of Oran. It is affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria (known as EPA, its French acronym) and police claimed that the church was used to “illegally print Gospels and publications intended for evangelism.”
Rev Mahmoud Haddad, president of EPA, denounced the local government’s allegation and the decision to close down the church. He said the officials’ reasons were “unfounded.”
The cleric argued that the Protestant Church of Algeria is authorized to conduct religious activities. He explained that the church was officially recognized by the government since 1974 and is also “accredited with both the Ministry of the Interior and the local government.”
He said, “Also, there is no printing activity of Gospels or Christian publications inside these premises.”
A predominantly Islamic country, Algeria passed a new Constitution in February 2016 granting freedom of religious worship within the limits of the law. However, many churches from other religions were forced to stop its activities after authorities claimed that they violated a 2006 law which bans anything that is against Islamic morality.
On June 9, a Catholic church located in Sidi Moussa, 15 miles from Algiers, was demolished on the grounds of a damaged structure. Instead of restoring the building and making it part of the national heritage, the government decided to destroy it.
Later on, the mayor of the commune revealed that a mosque and a Quranic school would be constructed on the same site. The Algerian government had destroyed other churches for unjustifiable reasons, reports Asia News.