Religious Freedom: Washington maintains Algeria on its watch-list

Religious Freedom: Washington maintains Algeria on its watch-list

 North Africa PostMay 9, 2022 12:45 pm

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan U.S. government advisory body, has recommended maintaining Algeria on the U.S. Department of State’s Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe religious freedom violations.

In its 2022 annual report, the USCIRF, which monitors and reports on religious freedom abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State and Congress, deplored the deteriorating religious freedom conditions in Algeria with the government increasingly enforcing blasphemy laws and continuing to restrict worship.

The Algerian authorities continue to convict and sentence individuals for blasphemy, proselytization and other offenses related to their religious identity or the practice of their beliefs, added the document, decrying the restrictions imposed on religious expression.

The Algerian authorities have also maintained the closure of dozens of Protestant churches, and charged religious minorities with illegally gathering while not providing a legal path for them to worship collectively.

These actions impacted religious minorities across many faiths and beliefs, including Protestant Christians, Ahmadiyya Muslims, and freethinkers, underlined the report.

Since 2017, Algerian authorities have closed 20 Protestant churches. The Algerian government justifies these closures by citing Ordinance 06-03, which requires that non-Muslim religious organizations register to establish houses of worship. Protestant organizations say that government authorities systematically refuse to provide them the necessary receipt for registration, effectively rendering their activities illegal.

Last July, a group of bipartisan Senators sent a letter to Secretary Anthony Blinken calling on the State Department to take action against Algeria for systematic, discriminatory treatment toward members of religious minority groups.

The senators urged the Algerian government to honor its international obligations, release the Ahmadis and Christians who have been convicted of blasphemy or related charges, ensure their safety against any retaliation, and guarantee them the right to freely practice their faith, alone and in community with others.


The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan U.S. government advisory body, has recommended maintaining Algeria on the U.S. Department of State’s Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe religious freedom violations.

In its 2022 annual report, the USCIRF, which monitors and reports on religious freedom abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State and Congress, deplored the deteriorating religious freedom conditions in Algeria with the government increasingly enforcing blasphemy laws and continuing to restrict worship.

The Algerian authorities continue to convict and sentence individuals for blasphemy, proselytization and other offenses related to their religious identity or the practice of their beliefs, added the document, decrying the restrictions imposed on religious expression.

The Algerian authorities have also maintained the closure of dozens of Protestant churches, and charged religious minorities with illegally gathering while not providing a legal path for them to worship collectively.

These actions impacted religious minorities across many faiths and beliefs, including Protestant Christians, Ahmadiyya Muslims, and freethinkers, underlined the report.

Since 2017, Algerian authorities have closed 20 Protestant churches. The Algerian government justifies these closures by citing Ordinance 06-03, which requires that non-Muslim religious organizations register to establish houses of worship. Protestant organizations say that government authorities systematically refuse to provide them the necessary receipt for registration, effectively rendering their activities illegal.

Last July, a group of bipartisan Senators sent a letter to Secretary Anthony Blinken calling on the State Department to take action against Algeria for systematic, discriminatory treatment toward members of religious minority groups.

The senators urged the Algerian government to honor its international obligations, release the Ahmadis and Christians who have been convicted of blasphemy or related charges, ensure their safety against any retaliation, and guarantee them the right to freely practice their faith, alone and in community with others.

source https://northafricapost.com/57555-religious-freedom-washington-maintains-algeria-on-its-watch-list.html

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