Last month police raided the bookshop, accusing its owner of illegally printing Bibles and evangelistic brochures. They confiscated books and equipment but returned them when no proof of the allegations was found. Despite that, police issued and implemented a closure order for both the church and the bookshop. The order, which wrongly identifies the bookshop owner as the pastor of the church, repeated the earlier accusations and also alleges that he uses his private car to distribute illegal Christian material. The closure order also claims the Ain Turk church is illegal, despite its affiliation with the officially recognized EPA (L’Église Protestante d’Algérie).
Churches in Algeria face long-standing legal difficulties. Permission is required before a building can be used for non-Muslim worship, however authorities have always failed to grant such permission to churches. It has therefore become standard practice for churches to rent premises and then inform the local authorities about their activities, providing all relevant documentation, including confirming affiliation with the EPA.
Christians in Algeria request our prayers:
a. that church leaders, the bookshop owner and the leaders of the EPA will know the peace of Jesus, the wisdom of the Father and the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they deal with this problem.
b. that the both the church in Ain Turk and the bookshop will be reopened, with believers able to worship in the rented building without further obstacles
c. that the regulations governing non-Muslim worship will be amended so that Christians will be able to worship freely
d. that those responsible for the order to close the church will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus