Religious freedom is being denied in Algeria.
The Algerian parliament has approved a law banning the call to embrace other religions than Islam.
This law states to jail anyone "trying to call on a Muslim to embrace another religion," in remarks to the Christianizing (evangelize) campaigns taking place in the country.
The Algerian Ummah council (Senate) approved this decision on Monday. This decision which was approved by the national people's council ( parliament) on March 15th is an attempt to withstand the Christianizing campaign which had witnessed a notable activity recently especially in al—Qabayel area east of the country.
The ratified law stated to sentence imprisonment for two to five years and a fee between 5 to 10 thousands EURO against "anyone urging or forcing or tempting, to convert a Muslim to another religion."
The same penalty applies to every person, manufacturer, store or circulate publications or audo—visual or other means aiming at destabilizing attachment to Islam.
The law also bans practicing any religion "except Islam" "outside buildings allocated for that, and links specialized buildings aimed at practice of religion by a prior licensing."
One official at the ministry of religious affairs said that the aim of the law is basically to "ban religious activity, and secret religious campaigns."
The Christian community constitutes the largest religious minority in the country. This community accounts for the time being to less than 11,000 after it was hundreds of thousands before Algeria's independence in 1962 including 110 priests and 170 monks distributed all over Algerian lands.
If Islam holds the ultimate truth, then what are the leaders afraid of? Their truth should win out without their even trying to withhold information about other religions. We allow such freedom in America. Let's dialogue.
James Arlandson 3 30 06