Christian Loses Children After Forced Divorce
*representative image used
Religious intolerance shows itself in many ways in North Africa. Opposition to the opening of churches in some areas, ostracism, family rejection, intimidation and threats from radical Islamists and pressure at work are all forms of persecution faced by Christians in the region.
All countries in North Africa have a Muslim majority, and in many of the countries, Islam is the official religion. Frequently, we hear stories of Christians in North Africa being mistreated because of their religion. This recently happened to Farid* in Algeria.
Farid lost his marriage as well as his children because he made the decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Recently, this 50 year-old man came to Christ. His brothers-in-law caused a great deal of drama for this decision.
Persecution that comes from your own family is likely the most painful and difficult to suffer through. Farid’s brothers-in-law refused to accept the fact that their sister’s husband had converted to the ‘religion of the unbelievers’. They succeeded in forcing their sister to divorce Farid because of his conversion.
They then succeeded in ending all contact between Farid and his adult sons for fear that he would lead them down ‘the wrong path’. The Algerian juridical system automatically favors the Muslim view in this kind of trial when there are minors involved. Custody of the children is granted by default to the Muslim side. In the case of Farid, the judge didn’t need to interfere as his children are over eighteen already.
During trials involving spouses of different faiths, the juridical system requires the Christian partner to renounce his or her faith and return to Islam as a condition to save the marriage.
What happened to Farid happens often in Algeria. Kamel, another Christian, suffered the same situation a few years ago. “I remember when the judge brought my wife and me together for a possible reconciliation,” Kamel shares. “My wife told the judge that she would never agree to continue with me unless I renounced my faith in Christ. The judge tried to convince me to accept this blackmail, but I chose Christ.” After his forced divorce, his two children, both minors, went to live with his ex-wife as the judge had granted her the custody. It was Kamel’s father-in-law who forced his daughter to divorce.
*Names changed for security reasons