Algerian Christians need your prayers

Bible Society staff in Algeria have called for urgent prayer amid intensifying church closures across the country – but say the persecution is ‘nothing new’.

Twelve churches have closed within the last month and a container full of 5,000 Bibles destined for Algerian Christians and seekers has also been withheld by authorities. The stock of Arabic, Berber, English and French Bibles has been in storage for two months.

Ali Khidri, who leads Bible Society’s team in Algeria, said, ‘No one knows yet what the implications are for us. Please pray for the Church here.’

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Rezki, Ali’s assistant and next Bible Society leader, was in his church in Tizi-Ouzou as police arrived to close it down. He was arrested but has been released. Videos on social media show Christians continuing to worship as police walk in, and officers forcibly taking people from the building.

The closures have included Algeria’s largest Protestant church, which has around 700 members. Authorities are acting on a 2006 law, which states that non-Muslim places of worship must have a licence. Ali says most churches applied for licences years ago, but they have never been issued.

But despite the dramatic events, Ali is not surprised – or downhearted.

‘We are accustomed to all this, it is nothing new,’ he said. ‘I am completely convinced all the churches will be re-opened. There is no other way. If they stay closed, all the Christians will go to house churches and the number of believers will only increase.’

It’s thought there could be at least 120,000 Christians in Algeria, though it’s impossible to give accurate numbers as so many believers keep their faith a secret. The Church has been growing for decades. 

Ali added, ‘Please pray for the Church, and for the release of our Bibles – which I hope will be very soon. We want people to know what’s happening here.’

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Bible Q&A: How can we trust God in times of suffering?

Bible Q&A: How can we trust God in times of suffering?

Suppose someone else could give us a sound biblical explanation; would it take away the hurt?

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