Religious Freedom Failures in Algeria Must Be Addressed

September 11, 2023

Miles Windsor, Senior Manager for Strategy and Campaigns with RFI’s Middle East Action Team, wrote an article published recently in RealClearPolitics titled, “Religious Freedom Failures in Algeria Must Be Addressed.” Windsor begins by recounting a range of offenses the Algerian Government has committed against the country’s religious minorities:

In 2022, after several years of Algerian authorities systematically raiding and closing Protestant churches; harassing and arresting Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians, and other religious ‘free thinkers’; and denying basic equality to its various religious communities; Algeria was placed on the State Department’s Special Watch List (SWL).

Windsor continues:

This means that according to the analysis of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and State Department experts, between 2021 and 2022, Algeria’s government ‘engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.’ The designations are soon to be up for review, and regrettably, Algeria must remain on the SWL. They must remain on the list for the sake of the communities that would otherwise feel betrayed and abandoned. They must remain on the list to avoid extending to Algerian authorities a sense of impunity despite their persistent offenses. They must remain on the list in order to maintain the credibility of U.S. diplomacy.

No improvements have been made to the religious freedom landscape since the SWL designation was published, so there should be no change to the State Department’s posture. In 2023, police conducted a raid and confiscated Bibles and other materials of Christian devotion. Also this year, authorities ordered and pressured three additional churches to close. In one province, no churches remain open. In January 2023 alone, Algerian authorities interrogated, summoned, and charged at least 10 Christians. In one interrogation, police disclosed that the authorities plan to close all Protestant churches in the country. Many countries around the world already think that human rights are just a tool by which the West imposes its dominion. When the United States deprioritizes human rights at will, it only serves to reinforce that dangerous impression.

Read the full article: “Religious Freedom Failures in Algeria Must Be Addressed.”