Habiba Kouider used to be a Muslim. Then she converted to Christianity and was baptized. Recently she was pulled off a bus by police who interrogated her in public, rifled through her purse, examining her bibles and other literature, and even performed a body search on her, all while firing hostile questions at her.
After examining the contents of the Christian woman’s handbag, police officers body-searched her and then proceeded to interrogate her.
“Why did you convert to Christianity, why did you forsake Islam?” the officers asked, according to comments by Mustapha Krim, published on the website collectifalgerie.free.fr.
Kouider has been charged with “practicing a non-Muslim religion” and is facing a three-year prison sentence requested by prosecutors.
Meanwhile, six Christians who had been worshiping in a private house in Tiaret, Algeria were arrested by non-uniformed secret police after they completed a worship service. They now face two years in prison for worshiping in a house and have released an open letter for help to the Christians of the world.
My dear brothers in faith all over the world, here is the tale of humiliation, injustice and persecution that your brothers in Algeria are subjected to daily, by society but in particular by the security services and the state. The latest event took place on May 9th, 2008 after leaving the Friday worship service, which we held in secret, in fear, in a brother’s house in Tiaret. We were taken by surprise when we were arrested openly in the street by security forces in plain clothes. These persons took us one by one, just like criminals, but our only crime was our faith in Jesus Christ, which has become a dangerous crime in Algeria.
My brothers, I will not describe the humiliation that we had to endure at the hands of these agents, as they were taking us to the central police station. When we had arrived they searched us one by one while insulting us, calling us renegades: those who have denied their faith in order to follow that of the west. They said we were accomplices and Isreali spies, and that we deserve to have our throats cut without any pity: a violent and inhuman aggression. Is it normal to arrest someone just because of his faith, in a country which pretends to be democratic and which says it respects human rights and personal freedom? On top of all that, we were kept there by the agents all night on Friday, in a prison cell in deplorable and undescribable conditions, without allowing us to phone our families or those dear to us. The next day we were taken before the Prosecutor of the Republic at the court in Tiaret, to ask us humiliating and embarassing questions, such as : « Why have you forsaken your ancestors’ religion? For money? » and « at what price have you been bought? » Finally we were free to go, with the order to appear in court on May 27th 2008 on an absurd charge : « Distribution of documents and books in order to destabilise the faith of muslims ». Hereunder is a copy of the order to be present at the trial. Brothers, I have written this so that you could be informed of the situation. We need your support in these difficult times, by all possible means (written, protestations…).
The 2006 Law in Algeria concerning Christianity and other non-Muslim religion is horrible. If you would like to complain, and you really should, the Algerian Embassy in Washington DC can be reached at the following addresses (try both).
|Embassy of The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
2118 Kalorama Rd, NW
Washington , D.C 20008
Tel: (202) 265-2800
Fax: (202) 667-2174
|Embassy of The Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria
2137 Wyoming Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
tel: (202) 265-2800
fax: (202) 667-2174
We do not regret things we have done so much as we regret things we have not done. Do not give yourself a reason to regret your silence about the persecuted Christians in Algeria. Speak up, even if just with an email.
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