An Algerian father-of-two has been handed down a suspended sentence for hosting a worship gathering in his own home. The 35-year-old was also issued a hefty fine for simply seeking to express his religious faith in the Muslim-majority nation.
After inviting a couple to pray with him, the man was reported under the country’s notorious Religion law of June 2006 (“Law 03/06”), which prohibits non-Muslim worship among unregistered churches.
According to Morning Star News, churches which seek to obtain a license must approach the national committee for official permission. Almost inconceivably, this committee has never actually met and has yet to carry out the work of administering licenses to church facilities.
“Incredible but true, it was enough that a neighbor denounced him and accused him wrongly, and he is condemned, all because he welcomed a Christian couple to pray together,” said a local source. “He is frightened and shocked by this accusation.”
After police detained the man, he was intimidated and questioned relentlessly by authorities. However, the man continues to stay strong in his faith and conviction.
“I’m not afraid of them, and all their intimidation is just wind,” he told the outlet. “I have the right to be a Christian, and I also have the right to make my home and my land available to the church. All this is injustice.”
Christian persecution is common in this region of the world. Last year, two men faced criminal trial in Algeria after one of their wives, a Muslim, accused them of trying to convert her to Christianity.
Algeria enforces strict laws on evangelistic activities. The country’s notorious “Law 03/06″ seeks to impose a prison term of two to five years and a fine of 500,000 to 1 million dinars ($4,343 to $8,687) if anyone “incites, constrains, or utilizes means of seduction tending to convert a Muslim to another religion, or using for this purpose the institutions of education, health, social, cultural, or educational institutions, or other establishment, or financial advantage; or makes, stores or distributes printed documents or films or other audiovisual medium or means intended to undermine the faith of a Muslim.”
Do pray for this dear man as he fights the oppressive state powers in Algeria.