USCIRF Troubled by Escalating Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Algeria

Jan 25, 2021

USCIRF Troubled by Escalating Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Algeria

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is troubled by reports of escalating repression targeting the Ahmadiyya community in Algeria in recent weeks.

“New convictions and harsh sentences against Ahmadi Muslims in Algeria demonstrate systematic and ongoing persecution on religious grounds,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Anurima Bhargava. “The U.S. government should urge the Algerian government to act swiftly to reverse this disturbing trend.”

Over the past several weeks, Algerian courts have tried dozens of members of the Ahmadiyya community for crimes related to the expression of their faith. Charges have included offending the Prophet Mohammad, degrading Islamic principles, and conducting activities without registration even though the government has not granted the Ahmadiyya community official status. Judges in these cases have questioned Ahmadi Muslims about their beliefs, and several Ahmadi Muslims have publicly recanted their faith as a result of the charges. Sentences have included heavy fines and prison sentences of up to three years.

“These unwarranted arrests and detentions are the latest in a long history of Ahmadi persecution in Algeria,” said USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore. “The U.S. government should demonstrate its strong support for the Ahmadi community in Algeria by denouncing these violations.”

In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the State Department designate Algeria as a “Special Watch List” for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). In November, USCIRF also hosted a conversation with Commissioners and experts on Religious Freedom in Algeria.

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov.