The Kabylian Force

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There are nearly a thousand Kabyle converts every year in Algeria, a Christian heritage that is still strong. They are often Kabyles who choose to change their religion by becoming Protestants (only Protestant, because Catholicism collaborates with the Algerian state to prevent conversions), with the problems and suffering that follow in a country where the Muslim religion occupies all public spaces.
A merciless hunt has been launched since the beginning of Operation Zero Kabyle against converted Kabyle Christians who often have to blend into the Muslim mould to hope to live peacefully. The practice of their religion has become almost impossible because of the refusal of the Algerian authorities to give authorisations to build a place with their own means. They often have to go through endless administrative procedures which all end in failure. Not to mention the closure of all churches, since January 2018, 16 of the 46 churches affiliated to EPA (the Algerian Protestant Church) have been sealed. In total, more than 25 churches are closed or threatened with closure.
For some time now, the Tebboune regime has been filtering public institutions by putting the brakes on to control those it does not consider Muslim enough. Several teachers have fled Algeria to escape prison and daily harassment as well as threats from some Muslim village associations. They are dismissed for “proselytising”. There are many cases of people being blackmailed to dissuade them from abandoning their faith. However, in the face of their obstinacy, the Algerian colonial authorities used the most extreme means, including dismissal and a lifetime ban on joining the civil service.
Economic insecurity was also the consequence of this hunt against the Christians. Many Kabyle converts are plunged into insecurity because of their faith. They are policemen, gendarmes, teachers and journalists, all of whom are subjected to the war launched by the colonial regime against Christianity. Many of them live today in absolute precariousness and clandestinity. This war is also economic against those who dare to break away from the unique way of thinking, notably with the closure of their businesses and, further on, the prohibition for employers to hire them. The same practices are applied to the militants of the Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK).
According to the testimonies of Christians in exile, several teachers were subjected to harsh interrogations in the school where they were teaching, followed by threats and blackmail to make them recite, by force, the proof of their Muslim faith. Faced with the scale of this harassment and its impact on their daily lives, many choose exile as a last resort to have the peace and freedom to practice their faith in peace.
The edifying example of this war against Christians is undoubtedly the case of Slimane Bouhafs, which is still on everyone’s mind. He was arrested illegally by the Algerian colonial police in Tunisia, where he was living as a political refugee, exfiltrated and taken by force from Tunis to Algeria, where he was arbitrarily judged, notably for being a Christian. He was interrogated several times about his faith and subjected to atrocious torture to the point of losing his life.
Ordinance 06-03 provides that “non-Muslims are free to practice their religious rites, provided that this is done in conformity with the ordinance, the constitution and other laws and regulations, as well as in respect of public order, morality and the fundamental rights and freedoms of others”. The Algerian Constitution also prohibits non-Muslims from running for president and Christians are not promoted to important positions, which leads many Christians to hide their faith and to blend in with Muslim society.
Hestia Saithamus.

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