The pretext for the arrests appears to have been the lack of a permit for the site or the presider. Permit systems such as those in Indonesia, and the one proposed in Egypt, have become a popular modernization in purportedly “moderate” countries of Sharia’s prohibition on building new churches or repairing old ones. The permit concept looks equitable enough on paper, but the handling of Christian applications amounts to a long, slow, “no,” that is no less of a denial in practice.
“Algeria: Christians arrested for proselytism during mass,” from AnsaMed, November 1:
(ANSAmed) – TUNIS, NOVEMBER 1 – Five men were arrested by Algerian police for proselytism during a mass in a village in the wilaya of El Tarf, according to the website of the LibertÃ© newspaper. The men were arrested in line with measures issued by the general state prosecutor at the court of El Tarf.
The incident occurred on Sunday in the village of Myriama, close to the Tunisian border. In Algeria, worship, Muslim or otherwise, is regulated by a law of February 2006, which stipulates that both the site in which worship is celebrated and the cleric presiding over the ceremony must be authorised.”
Sounds familiar: everyone needs a permit, but who has an easier time obtaining and keeping authorization? The minority is at the mercy of the majority, which is likelier to approve its own religions’ permits, and apply decisions informed by Sharia to the rest.