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LIBYA: Church in Tripoli facing eviction if a court decides so

Church facing eviction

A court hearing is planned on 26 July instead of late August regarding possible eviction from their current premises

 

Middle East Concerns (23.07.2021) – Established by expatriate Christians in 1962, the Union Church of Tripoli is one of five Christian denominations recognised by the government. In 1970 the church rented land in Tripoli and erected buildings on it. That land was expropriated by the former Gaddafi regime due to its proximity to government offices. The rental contract was terminated by the government.

The regime then rented a building to the church in Tripoli, on land that had been expropriated from others. For more than 50 years the Church has been using this building, which is also used by three other Protestant multi-national churches.

Since the demise of the former regime in 2011, a governmental committee has returned a great number of expropriated properties to their original owners. Recently, heirs of the original owner of the land and buildings used by the Union Church had ownership returned to them. They have filed a court case for a speedy eviction. The Union Church was informed of the case last December. The church expects to be evicted.

The cost of buying a new building is far beyond the means of the church.

Photo : Middle East Concerns





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ALGERIA: More churches sealed by government in Oran area

More churches sealed by government

Middle East Concern (13.07.2021) – https://bit.ly/3kg8TWV – On 7 July three churches in the  Oran area were sealed, bringing the number of sealed churches to 16. Christians in Algeria ask for prayer for the on-going campaign against the church that started in 2017.

 

The three churches are the city church or Oran (L’Oratoire), the Ain Turk House of Hope and a church in El Ayaida. They were previously closed by order of the Governor of Oran in  2017 and 2018. They re-opened in 2018, but the Governor filed a court case in August 2019 asking to close them again.

 

On 4 June 2021, the administrative court of Oran (415 km west of Algiers) ordered these churches closed. This order was implemented on 7 July.

 

In November 2017 Algerian authorities started a campaign to close churches, using a national ordinance which stipulates that permission must be obtained before using a building for non-Muslim worship. National authorities have failed to respond to any application for permission since the ordinance was enacted in 2006. Therefore, it has become standard practice to rent premises and inform only the local authorities that they are being used as places of worship.

 

Photo : MEC

Further reading about FORB in Algeria on HRWF website





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ALGERIA: Historic church building returned to the Protestant Community

Algerian Christians rejoice in the return of an appropriated church building in Mostaganem. They ask for continued prayer for the situation of the church in the country.

 

MEC (26.05.2021) – https://bit.ly/2ToVJM1 – The church building is one of several historically recognised places of worship taken over by local authorities. The EPA, the umbrella organisation for Protestant Churches in Algeria (Église Protestante d’Algérie) has been requesting the return of these buildings for more than a decade. However, those using the buildings refuse to return them, leading to long-running court cases.

 

The church building in Mostaganem was used as a public health centre until 2011. When the health centre moved, local authorities leased the building to another health organisation. In 2012 the EPA launched legal procedures requesting the return of the building.

 

A verdict was issued in May 2019, but authorities failed to implement it in the two months required by law. The building was finally returned to the EPA this month.

A 2006 Ordinance prohibits non-Muslim worship in buildings not designated for that purpose by a national commission. However, since 2006 that commission has not issued a single license.

 

Since November 2017 many Protestant church buildings have been visited by so-called “building safety” committees. These committees not only inspect safety compliance but also ask for permits under the 2006 Ordinance. To date authorities have ordered 20 churches to cease their acitivities. Sixteen of these churches had their buildings sealed, while three were allowed to reopen.

 

Photo: meconcern.org

Further reading about FORB in Algeria on HRWF website





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NORTHERN CYPRUS: Ryan Keating charged with illegally importing Christian material

Ryan Keating has been charged with illegally importing Christian material into North Cyprus. He faces travel restrictions while the case is in progress and the possibility of a large fine if convicted.

 

 

HRWF with Middle East Concern (13.04.2021) – On 31 March, Ryan presented himself at Iskele police station to be formally charged with illegal importation of New Testaments, Bibles and other Christian literature. He also faced charges related to operating a business without a licence – the customs department had permissions granted by the municipality revoked.

 

This follows a raid on his business premises (also the meeting place of a church fellowship) and home by police and customs officials on 27 January 2021. A large amount of Christian material was confiscated (20 Bibles in Farsi, 15 Bibles in Arabic, 86 New Testaments in Farsi, 92 New Testaments in Arabic, plus two boxes of the Gospel of John in Farsi and Arabic). The Bibles and New Testaments were for church use and the Gospels for distribution.

 

The police have demanded Ryan’s passport for the duration of the court case, which is expected to take two to three years. He will need special permission to be able to travel during that period.

The Christian materials were valued at between 48,000 – 58,000 Turkish Lira (TL). If Ryan is convicted, the fine is calculated at ten times their value  – which could be as much as 580,000 TL.

Ryan was released after guarantors provided promissory notes for a total of 160,000 TL and he paid costs  of 5,000 TL.

Currency conversion: 1000 TL = 103 EUR


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