Algerian Christians request prayer for Hamid, a convert from Islam, convicted of blasphemy after losing an appeal.
Hamid (43), married with four children (ages 6, 4, 3 years and five-months-old), has known Jesus since 2001. In 2018 he shared a caricature of the Prophet of Islam on a social media account. On 20 January 2021 he was summoned by police for investigation, accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam.
On 21 January, he was tried for blasphemy and received the maximum punishment – five years in prison. On 22 March, the court of appeals confirmed the sentence. It is not yet known if he will appeal further to the supreme court.
Several similar charges and punishments have been reported against others in the country. Pastor Rachid Seighir of a church in Oran, and Nouh Hamimi were convicted in absentia on 27 February of “proselytising.” They were sentenced to two years in prison and fined. Their appeal will be heard on 18 April. Two Christians from a Muslim background from the Kabylie area were recently convicted of blasphemy, receiving sentences of six months and three years respectively.
Also, in mid-February authories permitted the reopening of places of worship, which had been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. However Protestant churches were not included in the order and must remain closed.
Christians in Algeria ask for prayer that:
- all those sentenced to prison, and their families, will know the peace of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit during these challenging times
- Hamid can appeal the verdict, that his appeal and that of pastor Rachid and Nouh will be successful
- Christians will know divine encouragement in light of the campaign against them, for it to cease and for churches to be reopened
- those responsible for the persecution of Christians will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus