In the context of the growing role of Islamism in the region, Algeria is increasingly the scene of Islamist terror movements, particularly al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In 2014, the severely ill Abdelaziz Bouteflika was reelected for a fourth term as president with 81% of the vote, in a country that knows no fair and free elections. Almost all Christians in Algeria are from a Muslim background. The law prohibits public assembly for purposes of practicing a faith other than Islam. Catholic churches, however, including a cathedral in Algiers (the seat of the Archbishop), conduct services without government interference, as does one Protestant church.
Slimani Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian, was arrested this past weekend. His imprisonment was due to a Facebook post that was considered “blasphemous”. The contents of the post are not known, however, Slimani will be serving five years in prison for this post.
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.