A. THE COUNTRY
The Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, located in North Africa,
is 80% Sahara Desert, and ~500,000 are nomadic or semi-nomadic in this
area. Over 90% live around the Atlas mountains where agriculture is
possible. The government is a semi-presidential republic and
essentially a single-party state. Attempts at forging peace means
accommodating militant Islamist groups even though democracy is
enshrined in the constitution. The economy is fast-growing due to
oil/gas reserves and rapid nationalization of related industry. Foreign
debt repayment is ahead of schedule, but the financial structures are
generally poor and unemployment is high.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~35,423,000 and official languages Arabic and Berber.
French and English are widely used. ~4,000,000 ethnic Algerians live in
Europe. Many young people attempt to move there (often illegally) in
search of more freedom and a better life. Most of Algeria’s oil wealth
does not reach the ordinary citizen. Human rights abuses are widespread
and few perpetrators of civil war crimes will be brought to account for
their crimes. ~69.9% are Maghreb Arabs, ~22.8% Berber, ~6% Bedouin, ~1%
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
Islam in Algeria is volatile and deeply polarized between secularists –
who espouse a more liberal Islam and a Western view of progress – and
Islamists, who want to submit all of society to shari’a principles.
Catholics and the Protestant Church of Algeria are the only Christian
bodies officially recognized. Freedom of religion is dwindling.
~97.29% are Muslim, ~2.4% Non-religious, ~0.28% claim to be Christian,
~0.02% Chinese, ~0.01% Baha’i.
In the Christian category:
~0.24% are Independent, ~0.03% Protestant, ~0.01% Catholic, <0.01%
Orthodox, <0.01% are adherents to a ‘marginal’ group.
Evangelicals represent 0.2% of the population.
Charismatics represent 0.1% and of those <0.1% are Pentecostals.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.