Algeria is the largest country in Africa and the Arab world and the 10th largest in the world. The mostly Arab and Berber (native inhabitants) population lives near it’s northern border with the Mediterranean. The rest of the population are settled throughout desert oases or are nomadic.
Algeria had a violent 20th century. The Algerian war for independence from France resulted in an estimated 1.5 million deaths. Later, from 1992 through 2002, Algeria endured a civil war which cost somewhere between 44,000 and 150,000 lives. The result of these two major conflicts. The civil war set the stage for the growth of various Islamists groups in the country, including al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. These groups continue to wage jihad to the present day. Partly a result of these conflicts, Algeria suffers from rampant poverty and unemployment.
Although Algeria is presently 99 percent Muslim, the country has a well known Christian history. Up until the Arab invasion of the seventh century, Algeria was mostly Christian. It may come as a surprise to many that Augustine was from Hippo Regius, which is in modern day Algeria. Between the Arab invasion of the seventh century and French invasion in 1830, Christian was essentially nonexistent.
A spiritual awakening to Christ began in the 1980s and continues to this day mostly based in the northern Berber region of Kabylia. This movement to Christ in Kabylia is the largest movement of Muslims to Christ in the Middle East and North Africa in modern history. Estimates of the number Christians in Algeria vary between 100,000-380,000, the majority of those being in Kabylia among the Berbers.
While the government recognizes the largely Kabyle church, they prohibit evangelism to Muslim Algerians. The government regularly and systematically restricts the ministries of Christians. This has resulted in widespread shutting down of churches and imprisonment of Christians for “insulting Islam.” Christians face intense social pressure to turn from Christ. This pressure often turns into violent abuse.
While we rejoice at the incredible growth of the church among the Berbers, we are sobered still that the vast majority of Arab Algerians are still unreached with the Gospel.
A Call to Prayer
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
As Christians we know that the only hope for peace and human flourishing in this world is in a saving relationship with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most Algerians have never been exposed to the truth about Jesus. Therefore, the church must pray. The church also must find new ways to advocate for justice, freedom of religion, and mercy for the poor as she proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ to the peoples of Algeria. There is hope for Algeria; hope, that is, only in Jesus Christ.
Here are four specific prayer requests:
- For the vast Muslim population of Algeria to repent from their sins and give their hearts to the Prince of Peace.
- For the government of Algeria to “do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8).
- For the promotion of human rights, especially for the poor and the most vulnerable.
- For peace.