I have translated a recent article from “Jeune Afrique” and click on the title to access the original version.
It should be noted that other Algerians, of the Muslim faith, have been arrested for breaking fast during Ramadan.
I look at this situation as what a country (government) can do to religion or what a religion can do to a country.
The article reaffirms my conviction that religion and government are not compatible.
I have no other comments, I just want to share this article with others;
Observe Ramadan or stand trial: the dilemma of Christians
22/09/2010 at 11am: Jeune Afrique
Two Algerian Christian workers are being judged in Ain el Hammam, eastern Algeria, for breaking fast during Ramadan. The prosecutor is requesting a three years prison sentence.
“I have no regrets; I am a Christian and assume my responsibility”, said Hocine Hocini, upon leaving the court in Ain El Hammam, on Tuesday.
He may look “optimistic”, but he faces three years in prison, as per the prosecutor’s request made on Tuesday.
What is his crime? – Breaking the fast with a colleague, during Ramadan, on August 13. According to his statement, this family man and a colleague, Salem Fellak, took a break for a snack “in a hidden place” at their work site when the police arrested them.
Both were charged with interfering with a tenet of Islam and immediately brought before the court of Ain el Hammam, but remained free.
Symbol for liberties
Their case has become a symbol of the libertarians and the small Christian minority (11,000 persons from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, but more than 30,000 according to the President of the Protestant Church of Algeria).
On Tuesday, according to the AFP correspondent, hundreds of people gathered outside the court in this small mountain town of Kabylia to support the accused.
“I am pleased by the supports we are getting and of the many lawyers who have come to our defense.” said Hocine Hocini.
The president of the Protestant Church of Algeria, Pastor Mustapha Krim, also came to support the two men, and to show his “concern” for Christians in Algeria. According to him the affair is “ridiculous”.
The defendants’ lawyers argued for their release, stating that no specific law prohibits breaking the fast during Ramadan.
Another lawyer, Mr. Mokrane Ait Larbi, said that these charges were a violation of the Constitution in accordance with the “International Conventions on Freedom of Worship” ratified by Algeria.
The judgment shall be rendered on October 5. (With AFP)