Christmas market opens in Algiers as Christian population increases

A small Christmas market in Algiers, Algeria, has opened as the number of Christians in the Sunni Muslim-majority country increased because of the influx of migrants from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and other sub-Saharan nations.

(REUTERS / Ramzi Boudina)A man dressed as Santa Claus is pictured at a Christmas market in Algiers, Algeria. December 15, 2017.

The Christmas market in Algiers was organized by the Caritas charity. It signified that security in the country has stabilized after 200,000 people were killed in the decade-long Islamist militant violence in Algeria, Reuters Africa noted.

This was not the first time that Caritas put together a Christmas market in Algiers. A more low-profile activity was organized last year, but this year's event was announced in advance as part of a call for unity between Christians and Muslims.

"It is not about making money, but rather about using the money to help the most vulnerable, whether Algerians, African migrants or Syrians," explained Caritas Algeria director Maurice Pilloud.

According to Pilloud, a lot of Muslims donated things for the event. Honey, chocolate, jewelry, cakes, and other items are being sold in the Christmas market, and Muslim women also interact with foreigners there.

Previously, diplomats rarely went out of their heavily protected embassies. However, they have now started living alongside Algerians in residential areas as there has been no militant attack reported int eh country for more than a decade now.

Earlier this month, Bos News Life learned that authorities had closed down the Protestant Church of Algeria in northwestern Nigeria on Nov. 9 as part of the government's crackdown on evangelism. Police said the church was not approved by the state and that the building was allegedly used for the illegal printing of Gospel tracts. However, EPA president Rev. Mahmoud Haddad denied the allegations.

While Algeria's new Constitution guarantees' citizens' freedom of religion, activists report that a lot of churches were ordered to stop their gatherings because they were allegedly against the law of non-Muslim worship.