A group of Christians and secular Algerians held a peaceful rally Saturday, Sept. 20, in the Algerian city of Aokas, in a show of support for the Iraqi Christians and Yezidi minorities, “that are undergoing a savage persecution by the Islamic State.” The young secular activists who initiated the rally defends the values of freedom and secularism in north Algeria.
The citizens of Aokas, located in the north of Algeria, were surprised by the show of support for Iraqis because in the past, they have only held demonstrations to support Palestinians.
A large banner proclaiming, “Kabylia [the northern region of Algeria] in solidarity with Iraqi Christians and Yezidi” was hung between two trees by the police station. “Through this gathering, we want to express our solidarity and support to Iraqi Christians and the Yezidi community who suffer because of the terrorists of the Islamic State,” said Abdelkader, a Christian from Aokas who attended the gathering. “Iraqi Christians are victims of genocide. We cannot remain silent about this horrible massacre.”
He adds, “We were not harassed by the authorities. Members of the police came to the scene, they wrote a report and left.” Notably, the event was ignored by the national press.
The protest took place the same weekend that French tourist Hervé Gourdel was abducted in north Algeria by an Algerian jihadist group linked to the Islamic State. On Wednesday, Sept 24, this group sent a message suggesting that they had beheaded the man. The French president confirmed the killing.
Thank You, Father, for the courage of this group of Algerian Christians and secularists to stand in support of Christians and Yezidi who are suffering at the hands of the Islamic State. Stir us up daily so that we may pour out our hearts before You on behalf of Christians and other minorities suffering as a consequence of IS attacks. Protect them, Father, and provide shelter and food as they flee from their homes. Grant them endurance as they suffer dark days. Protect their hearts and minds from despair, strengthening them to stand in the hope of Christ. In the name of Jesus, our only hope in this life and the life to come, Amen.