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Before the founding of Islam in the seventh century and the subsequent invasion of Arab Muslims, Algeria was inhabited by the Berber people. Today, they live mainly in Algeria’s mountainous Kabylie area in the north, while Arabs inhabit the rest of the country. The Christian faith has a long history in North Africa, especially among ethnic Berbers. The early church father Augustine of Hippo is thought to have been a Berber from Algeria. After centuries of oppressive Muslim occupation, public Christian worship and witness have largely disappeared, but many Berbers are now rediscovering their Christian heritage. Churches have seen rapid growth, and Algeria has experienced one of the world’s largest movements of Muslims coming to faith in Christ. Algerian Christians are reaching out boldly to their Muslim countrymen, causing increased persecution in an uncertain political climate.
97 percent of Algerians are Sunni Muslims.
Christian converts from Islam are persecuted by the government and their own family members. They also face a variety of hardships from the local community.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Algeria:
Algeria is a shining example of church growth in North Africa and is also a leader for theological training and church development in the region. Nearly all of the church growth has occurred within the Berber community. Although churches are allowed to meet openly, in 2018 the government temporarily closed many church buildings and harassed congregations. Berber Christians, who are watched carefully, have gained a collective voice through an Evangelical association of churches. Sharing the gospel with Arabs can cause serious problems, but Berber Christians continue to share the gospel boldly in and around al-Qaida terrorist camps. Secret communities of Arab Christians exist throughout the country. While it is not common for Christians to be imprisoned, one believer was imprisoned for nearly a year in connection with a social media post. He received a presidential pardon in July 2017.
Access To Bibles:
There is a Bible Society in Algeria, but the printing and importation of Bibles is carefully monitored, limited and controlled by the government. Bible distributions are risky for the distributors and congregations involved, and Bibles are often confiscated by government officials. Give Bibles
VOM relocates believers who are expelled from their homes. We print and distribute Bibles and literature, and support front-line workers who reach out to Muslims. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry
- Pray for the gospel’s spread into majority Arab regions of Algeria.
- Pray for unity among Algerian church leaders.
- Pray for opportunities to distribute Bibles throughout Algeria, especially in the south.
- Pray for Christians whose churches were closed by the government.
- Pray for those who hear the gospel through social media evangelism.