Persecution in Algeria takes many forms: verbal and physical abuse, denigration and slander in the media from Islamist parties, forced divorce, and most recently, the loss of family inheritance under a law inspired by the Islamic Sharia. This is the case for Algerian believer named Mecheri Benslama.
Mecheri Benslama is a 55 year old Christian from Laghouat, a town in the north of Algeria. He risks losing the share of his inheritance because of his faith. In January, his Muslim brother brought a court case against him, using the Algerian family law. His brother aimed to deprive Mecheri from all family heritages. The law he used to do that is a law that was adopted in 1984. Article 138 of this law stipulates that an apostate (someone who leaves Islam) cannot inherit from a Muslim. On top of this case, his brother filed another complaint accusing Mecheri of offending the prophet of Islam and the Quran and wanting to convert members of the family, taking advantage of the absence of the Muslim brother filing the complaint.
Mecheri is part of a church that has around hundred members. His pastor Mahmoud is spiritually supporting Mecheri in this difficult time. Mahmoud tells us this isn’t the first time Mecheri received accusations: “previously he was summoned by the police on complaints of apostasy: they asked him to confess Mohammed and Allah, but he refused, telling them that he was a Christian.” For Mahmoud, this case is yet another injustice committed against Christians in Algeria: “It is an injustice to disinherit someone because he does not share the same religious beliefs. The situation is due to lead to a family tragedy,” says the pastor.