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Algeria: Faith in Christ Costs Christian His Family and Livelihood

This story is reminiscent of numerous accounts of the saints and martyrs. Saint Barbara the Great Martyr was tortured and ultimately beheaded for refusing to renounce her faith. The Holy Great Martyr Marina was likewise tortured with astounding savagery and ultimately killed for the same steadfastness. There are innumerable other examples, notably the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke, whose inspiring Troparion is this: “The new martyrs, who with unremitting battle / have cast down the ancient deception, / have exalted the Faith of the Orthodox; / for, having abolished the worship of the iniquitous / and professed Christ boldly, / they now unceasingly entreat / Him as perfect God, / that He grant us great mercy.”

Let us remember the words of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Our victory through Christ Jesus was promised to us, most especially when persecuted for righteousness and because of His name. At this very moment, we remember His words: ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…’ (Matthew 5:11-12).” And we entreat the New Martyrs and all martyrs to beseech the Lord to protect and strengthen Ahmed Beghal and all other new Christians.

“Faith Costs Christian in Algeria His Family, Livelihood,” Morning Star News, January 9, 2019:

TIZI-OUZOU, Algeria (Morning Star News) – A 32-year-old convert in Algeria has not seen much of his two young daughters since his wife divorced him and charged him with undermining Islam more than two years ago.

Ahmed Beghal (name changed for security reasons) has legal rights to visit his daughters, ages 4 and 6, but his wife’s family keeps them away from him. They began blocking him from seeing his daughters, and pressuring his wife to divorce him, when the Algerian police declined to arrest him in 2017, he said.

“They took my two daughters to prevent me from seeing them – whenever I asked to see my daughters in accordance with the rights granted by the judge, my wife’s brothers created impediments and threatened me,” Beghal told Morning Star News. “This happened to me several times.”

His wife had agreed to become a Christian three months after he converted in 2013. Of all the things he has withstood since then – death threats, job loss, criminal charges and a night in jail – his wife turning against him pains him most, he said.

He had long had doubts about Islam when, in his early 20s, he came across a Christian station with programming geared toward Muslims. Its critiques of Islam confirmed his doubts, he said, and he called the telephone number of the station’s Algeria contact, which put him in touch with a pastor in Algiers.

From his home in Ain-Soltane village, in Ain-Defla Province southwest of Algiers, he went to meet the pastor in the capital city and put his faith in Christ.

It was April 2013. Seven months later, as his wife had noted both a positive change in him and his attachment to the Christian TV program, he informed her that he had become a Christian. She too became increasingly interested in the programming, and three months later she committed her life to Christ as well, he said.

They occasionally attended worship services at the pastor’s church in Algiers together, secretly. Problems began only after they were baptized the summer of 2015 in the coastal city of Tipaza.

Beghal’s parents and siblings seized all his possessions, including a profitable poultry business on his family’s land that he was running.

“While going to work with others, because I had to support my family, insults and threats fell on me, because the people I was going to work with quickly learned that I was a Christian, a murtad [apostate],” he said. “It was my family members who first started the news, and it followed me everywhere.”

He received enough serious death threats that he filed several complaints with police, he said.

“Twice I asked the gendarmerie to intervene to protect my family and me, my wife and our two little girls,” Beghal said.

Receiving no help from police, he moved his family to Chlef, 84 kilometers (52 miles) east, leaving all relations and possessions behind and doing odd jobs to try to make ends meet….

During the first week of last December, on one of his many visits to court to try to obtain enforcement of his right to visit his children, he was surprised to receive an order to appear before a judge on Dec. 30 to respond to his wife’s accusations of “undermining Islam,” he said.

“I was really afraid of being in prison, knowing the risks of the famous Law 03/06 against Christians,” Beghal said.

Algeria’s Law 03/2006, commonly known as Law 03/06, calls for a prison term of two to five years and a fine of 500,000 to 1 million dinars (US$4,343 to US$8,687) for anyone who undertakes any means intended to undermine the faith of a Muslim….

Algeria ranked 42nd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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