Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 28 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Stanley Rother
home iconNews
line break icon

Religious freedom commission hits Algeria on treatment of Christians


John Burger - published on 06/24/21 - updated on 06/24/21

USCIRF concerned about sentences for blasphemy and proselytizing.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) this week condemned several court decisions in Algeria that restrict Christians’ religious freedom in the country.

“Recent decisions by Algerian courts to sentence Christians accused of blasphemy and proselytizing to multi-year prison sentences and to seal Protestant churches that have been forcibly closed demonstrates the country is headed in the wrong direction,” said USCIRF Chairwoman Nadine Maenza.

Christians in Algeria have faced significant challenges in recent months, USCIRF said. Citing media reports, the commission said that:

  • On March 22, the Oran City Court of Justice upheld a five-year prison sentence issued against 42-year-old Christian Hamid Soudad for insulting the Prophet Mohammad. 
  • On June 6, a court in Oran sentenced city pastor and bookstore owner Rachid Mohamed Seighir to one year in prison for “printing, storing, or distributing materials that can ‘shake’ the faith of a Muslim.” 
  • On June 4, an administrative court in Oran ordered the physical sealing of three Protestant churches that had been forcibly closed by the government in 2020. The appeal to the closures is ongoing.

“These court decisions are blatant attempts to deny Algerian Christians their right to freedom of religion and belief,” said USCIRF Commissioner Frederick A. Davie. “We encourage U.S. government officials to attend the appeals for these rulings to demonstrate our firm commitment to religious freedom for Christians and all religious minorities in Algeria.”

In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the State Department designate Algeria for its “Special Watch List” for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).

In 2020, the Pew Research Center said that authorities in Algeria had detained several Christians for violating a ban on proselytizing by non-Muslims.

Christians in the Middle East
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.