Persecution in Algeria: A Converted Pastor Youssef Ourahmane Jailed For One Year

Farrukh Saif

May 6, 2024

Pastor yousaf

Youssef Ourahmane, a converted Christian pastor, received a one-year prison sentence after the Tizi Ouzou Court of Appeals upheld his conviction. Leading a church in Algeria, he was initially found guilty in absentia in September 2023 and sentenced to two years in prison plus a fine for organizing an unauthorized religious gathering. He was unaware of the trial until mid-September 2023. In his first appeal hearing in November 2023, his sentence was reduced to one year, but his conviction was upheld. The outcome of his second appeal, held in late March 2024, is still pending.

This case reflects a broader trend of increasing persecution against Christians in Algeria. The country ranked 24th on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of places most dangerous for Christians, a significant decline from 42nd place in 2018. Algerian law requires non-Muslim religious groups to obtain permits to operate, which are often denied, resulting in the closure of numerous Protestant churches by the government.

The plight of Pastor Ourahmane underscores the ongoing challenges and restrictions faced by Christians in Algeria as they seek to practice their faith freely. Advocates for religious freedom closely monitor his situation and call for his full acquittal.

The continued harassment of Pastor Ourahmane is a familiar experience for Algerian Christians. Despite Christianity’s centuries-old presence in Algeria, the government perceives it as a threat to the country’s Islamic identity and actively works to suppress its existence. Algeria is estimated to be home to about 100,000 Christians, with Protestantism experiencing the most rapid growth.

However, according to the Evangelical Protestant Association of Algeria ( EPA ) there are around 50 churches across Algeria, but most of the churches across the country have been closed down by Algerian authorities.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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