We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

Algeria: Two years in prison for selling books

pattern

On 6th June, Pastor Rachid Seighir and Nouh Hamami will find out whether they will go to prison. Their crime? Selling books. The pair have been running a bookshop that contains books which are considered to ‘shake the faith of Muslims’. In Algeria, this comes with a heavy potential cost – and the two men are waiting to hear if their appeal against a two-year prison sentence has been successful.

Pastor Rachid leads the Oran City church (L’Oratoire) and also owns a book and stationery shop, where Nouh Hamami works as a salesman. The bookshop was raided in September 2017, and the police found Christian books (including Bibles) and printing machines. An article in the law regulating non-Muslim worship criminalises ‘… producing, storing, or disseminating printed documents, audiovisuals, or using any other means with the intent to shake the faith of a Muslim’.

In February, Pastor Rachid and Nouh were convicted of ‘proselytising’ and sentenced to two years in prison and issued with a fine. Their appeal was heard on 16 May.

Following the raid, the Governor of Oran ordered that the bookshop be closed. Though this closure order has been deemed flawed by a court, the bookshop has still not been allowed to reopen.

Changing persecution in Algeria

This isn’t the first time that Pastor Rachid has been in trouble with the authorities. In 2008, another raid led to his conviction under the same charges – though he was acquitted on appeal.

Blasphemy convictions appear to be rising in Algeria, and in the past few months two other Christians have received prison sentences under these laws. In recent years, authorities in Algeria have targeted  EPA churches (Protestant Church of Algeria), and 13 have been forced to close by the authorities. Others have received orders to cease all activities. It’s also illegal to use anything as ‘a means of seduction intending to convert a Muslim to another religion’ – which, in practice, is difficult to define and therefore open to abuse.

There are some signs of hope for Christians in Algeria. The country fell seven places (to number 24) in the most recent Open Doors World Watch List, largely because substantially fewer incidents of violence against Christians were reported. On the other hand, churches that have been forced to close remain closed, and so the impact of previous years’ persecution is still being felt.

PRAY NOW...
1

That Pastor Rachid and Nouh would know God’s peace and comfort as they wait

3

For the organised campaign against Algerian Christians and church leaders to cease.

2

For justice to be done, and that these men would be acquitted

What can you do now?
  • 1

    Want to respond and help your persecuted family around the world? Get our World Watch List prayer map and resources to learn more and pray regularly.

    Get your map
  • 2

    Encourage teenager Farah and others across the Middle East who have faced threats and worse because of their faith in Jesus - send them a quick message now. Send a message of hope now…

    Send a message
NEWS
June 10, 2024

Please pray for Malu and her family, who are still hiding from the attackers who killed her father…

Find out more
June 10, 2024

Pray for student Meryem who’s secret faith was discovered by her parents, and is now being forced to stay at home…

Find out more
June 3, 2024

Please pray for Christians living in a region in Niger under jihadist control that is forcing believers to pay a tax or leave the area.

Find out more
June 3, 2024

Pray for Christians dealing with conflict, violence and extremism in Sudan…

Find out more
June 3, 2024

Eight people have been killed and around 160 people, mostly Christians, have been kidnapped after Islamic militants attacked a village in Nigeria.

Find out more
May 28, 2024

Thank God that 686 kidnapped women, men and children have been rescued in a joint effort by Cameroonian and Nigerian armed forces.

Find out more
May 20, 2024

Pray for Christian North Koreans who have been forced to return from China are being punished and imprisoned in horrific labour camps…

Find out more
May 20, 2024

Hari has been thrown out of his home, his church has been closed and he’s been arrested under false accusations – but nothing will stop him from following Jesus.

Find out more
May 13, 2024

“Christians are targeted all over India. There is not a single state in India that is safe for Christians. Pastors and believers are attacked, threatened and arrested on false charges, while churches and Christian institutions are attacked or forced to close down.”

Find out more
May 13, 2024

Reports say that the military council has burned down more than 400 houses, including five Christian churches, in a village in the Sagaing Region…

Find out more
btn-scroll