World Watch Ranking: 19

What does persecution look like in Algeria?

Whether from family, the community or the state, Christians in Algeria encounter many obstacles to expressing their faith.

Most Algerian believers are converts from Islam. They can face discrimination, harassment and pressure to follow Islamic customs from family members as well as the wider community. More recently, Christians have increasingly experienced restrictions and pressure from state officials to renounce their faith; many of these officials come under the influence of radical Islamic teachers.

Laws that regulate non-Muslim worship are also used to quell the influence of Christianity. This includes prohibition of 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 laws are sufficiently vague to be used to target and harass believers.

Meanwhile, 16 previously closed church buildings remained sealed, while other churches were ordered to close during the past year. Several other churches have had to cease their activities.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Family and societal hostility is especially acute in the rural and religiously more conservative parts of the country. In the 1990s, these regions acted as a stronghold for Islamist insurgents in the fight against the government. Converts from Islam are particularly vulnerable to persecution – in practice, this includes most Algerian believers.

What has changed this year?

Persecution has significantly worsened in the past year, with Christians becoming very vulnerable to state pressure alongside the ongoing societal pressures that can come from families and communities. Last year, at least ten Christians were prosecuted and sentenced on charges including 'practising worship without prior approval', 'shaking the faith of a Muslim' and 'poisoning the minds of youths'. Some of these charges are notoriously vague in their wording, and are often abused in the courts. In addition to the prosecutions, the government actively tried to structurally undermine the church in several ways, including ordering churches to close and cease activities.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Algeria?

Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, Bibles and pastoral care.

How can you pray for Algeria?

  • Please pray that the Holy Spirit will help Christians in Algeria to stand firm in their faith
  • Pray that each Christian in Algeria will have opportunities to gather with other believers for fellowship and discipleship.
  • Pray for the reopening of closed churches and a relaxing of laws that stifle religious freedom. 
a prayer for Algeria

Heavenly Father, strengthen our Algerian brothers and sisters in the face of opposition. Help them to persevere and hold onto You, and may their words and witness lead others to You. Heal all those who carry wounds from persecution, and provide for all those who have suffered loss. Soften the hearts of the authorities, both locally and nationally, so they can see the value and good intentions of Christians. May this lead to greater freedom for Christians, including the reopening of churches that have been closed. Continue to do wonderful things in and through the lives of Your church in Algeria. Amen.

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Persecution Level

Very High

Persecution Type
  • Islamic oppression
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Clan oppression
  • Ethno-religious hostility

Population of Christians
139,000 (0.3%)

Main Religion

Presidential Republic

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune