US STATE DEPT HAILS ALGERIA’S RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

WASHINGTON,--The United States Department of State has hailed the ay efforts made by Algeria to ensure respect for religious freedom, highlighting the constitutional and legal guarantees in the country which enable the people to exercise religious freedom.

In its International Religious Freedom Report for 2015, the State Department said here Thursday that the Algerian Constitution guaranteed religious freedom and its laws enabled everyone to exercise their religion as part of respect for public law and order.

In this regard, the report stressed that the penal code made it a crime for anyone to insult any of the prophets or to denigrate religions.

The same report highlighted the Algerian government's determination to counter radical Salafism, recalling the statements made in which it opposed any form of religious extremism and condemned all forms of violence perpetrated in the name of Islam.

The Algerian government had also shown its willingness to counter the influence of Salafists through replacing 55 imams by others trained in its own institutes, the State Department added.

In November 2015, the Algerian authorities authorized the import of non-Islamic books (Bibles) and announced its willingness to re-open synagogues as proof of religious freedom in Algeria, the report noted.

The government also recognized associations of non-Muslim religious groups like the Anglican Church.

No case of persecution of Christians has been reported in Algeria during the period covered by the report and members of this religious minority continue to freely practise their religion, the Department of State added.

As for the protection of religious minorities, the report welcomed the work conducted by the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups, which facilitates enrolment procedures for non-Muslim religious groups.

More than 99 per cent of Algeria's population are Sunni Muslims while other religious minorities constitute the remaining one per cent.

Source: Name News Network