Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after a lengthy war. A one-party socialist regime, The National Liberation Front, has largely controlled the politics of the country since. In the first multi-party election in 1991, Islamists won, but the army intervened to prevent the second round of elections. Civil war ensued, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths before the government regained control.
In an attempt to accommodate rising Islamist pressure, the government has instituted some reforms. In 2006, a law was passed restricting religious practises, other than Islam. Many house churches were closed, as worship outside of officially approved buildings was prohibited. Christians face threats from family members, neighbours and employers, as well as the government.
In January 2008, an intense media campaign against the church began as newspapers carried articles expressing concern about the growth of Christianity. Intense persecution followed -- house churches were closed by authorities, several believers were arrested and some were formally charged with insulting Islam. The government has not allowed any new church buildings to be built, and all newer churches that exist in Algeria today are house churches.
Persecution continues to intensify with ongoing pressure from Islamists who are demanding the implementation of Sharia law, but reports of Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ have also been increasing.