Most North African countries have Islam as their official religion, and stories of Christians in North Africa being mistreated because of their religion are heard all too often.
Sadly, the most intense persecution often comes from the family of the believers, which is what happened recently to Farid* in Algeria, who lost his marriage as well as his children when he made the decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
Persecution from your own family is, probably, the most painful and difficult to suffer through. Farid’s brothers-in-law refused to accept the fact that their sister’s husband had converted to the ‘religion of the unbelievers’, and forced their sister to divorce Farid because of his conversion.
They then succeeded in ending all contact between Farid and his adult sons, for fear that he would lead them down ‘the wrong path’. The Algerian judicial system automatically favours the Muslim view when there are minors involved, and custody of the children is granted by default to the Muslim side.
However, in the case of Farid, the judge didn’t need to interfere as his children are already over eighteen.
During trials involving spouses of different faiths, the judicial system requires the Christian partner to renounce their faith and return to Islam, as a condition of saving the marriage.
What happened to Farid frequently happens in Algeria. Another Christian, Kamel, suffered the same situation a few years ago. “I remember when the judge brought my wife and me together for a possible reconciliation,” Kamel shares. “My wife told the judge that she would never agree to continue with me unless I renounced my faith in Christ. The judge tried to convince me to accept this blackmail, but I chose Christ.”
After his forced divorce, his two children, both minors, went to live with his ex-wife as the judge had granted her the custody. It was Kamel’s father-in-law who forced his daughter to divorce.
- Pray for Christians in Algeria and across North Africa, as they often face intense persecution, especially from Muslim family members.
- Pray for those like Farid and Kamei, who have lost their marriages and families because of their faith. Pray that they will find family community amongst fellow believers, and know healing and comfort through Jesus.
- Pray for the North African Church and believers, for their witness to Christ to be strong, true and to reap a harvest for the Kingdom of God in these nations.
- Pray for peace and political stability across North Africa.
Matthew 19 vs 29: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.”