A church in Algeria’s north-western town of Aïn Turk, the capital of Ain el-Turck District says it has been falsely accused of printing bibles and publications intended for evangelism.
The allegations prompted security authorities to close down this church, affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria (known as EPA, its French acronym).
Sealed off 9 November, the police notification, according to Christian Watch dog, World Watch Monitor also stated that the church didn’t have state approval. But the president of the EPA, Rev Mahmoud Haddad, denied any wrongdoing, saying the justifications for closing the church were “unfounded”.
“Firstly, this community is indeed affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria, which has been officially recognised by the government since 1974 and is accredited with both the Ministry of the Interior and the local government,” he said.
“Also there is no printing activity of Gospels or Christian publications inside these premises.”
He pointed to several “anomalies and falsehoods” in the notification, which stated that the church of Aïn Turk belonged to a man named “Rachid”, who serves there as a pastor.
“This is not the case,” said Rev. Haddad, who added that the accusations were “unjust and false”.
Youssef, a board member at Aïn Turk church, added: “I am very saddened by this injustice and persecution we are facing in Algeria. The notification of the Prefect is based on false motives.”
Moreover, EPA international partners planning to visit churches in Algeria have seen their visa application denied.