By Samuel Smith
A church in the Northeastern African nation of Algeria has been closed down after authorities claimed that the church building was being used to print Bibles and other Christian materials.
World Watch Monitor reports that a church affiliated with the Protestant Church of Algeria in the Mediterranean coastal town of Ain Turk was shut down by government officials on Nov. 9.
Authorities in the port city of Oran, which is about 20 miles from Ain Turk, have claimed that the church was being used to "illegally print Gospels and publications intended for evangelism." Additionally, the police say that the church did not have state approval.
However, a Christian leader has decried the government's allegations against the church in question and called them "unfounded."
"Firstly, this community is indeed affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria, which has been officially recognized by the government since 1974 and is accredited with both the Ministry of the Interior and the local government," the Rev. Mahmoud Haddad explained, according to WWM. "Also there is no printing activity of Gospels or Christian publications inside these premises."A church board member named Youssef also told the Christian persecution media outlet that the church was closed down based on "false motives."
"I am very saddened by this injustice and persecution we are facing in Algeria," Youssef was quoted as saying.Algeria, a Muslim-majority country, ranks as the 36th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA's World Watch List.
An Open Doors factsheet on Algeria states that the country prohibits public assembly for worship of religions other than Islam. However, Open Doors explains that Catholic and Protestant churches generally are able to conduct services without fear of government interference.
Although a new Algerian constitution enacted in February 2016 guaranteed the freedom of worship, churches have still been forced to fight for their rights to assemble due to the country's 2006 law banning non-Muslim worship.
Christian Post report continues
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