Algerian President Urged to Reopen Churches by the ICC

Algerian President
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune |

The International Christian Concern, ICC, hand-delivered a letter to the Washington D.C. Algerian Embassy. 

The letter contained a call to action for President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to reopen churches that were forcibly closed by the previous administration. The open-letter addressed ongoing discrimination of religious minorities in Algeria, then asked that the President "stands with the religious minority communities" and is "committed to championing their right to freedom of religion and belief." It also read, "this is an opportunity for your administration to prove that you are committed to reform and that the injustices of the past will not be perpetrated under your watch." 

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the leader of an authoritarian regime that harassed Christians for close to a decade, ruled before President Tebboune, a professed reformer. Two of the country's biggest churches, alongside seven other churches, were forcibly closed during military government rule during the time between the two administrations. 

Despite promising "radical changes," each demand for change was passed on and forgotten. None of the closed churches have reopened as the closure orders have not been abolished.  

The protests and calls for reform that drove Bouteflika to resign were now demanding that the new administration under President Tebboune delivers on its promises and its commitment to religious freedom. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom included Algeria in the Special Watch List of countries experiencing severe religious intimidation. President Tebboune's administration has not given an answer to the letter.