Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Catholics 'welcome' in Algeria 20 years after sectarian killings  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 09/05/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Twenty years ago, Islamists shot dead a Roman Catholic brother and nun as they helped young Algerians prepare for exams, the first of 19 Christians murdered during the country's devastating civil war.

But members of the small religious community insist their suffering was no different to what all Algerians experienced during the so-called "black decade" and say they feel welcome today.

Brother Henri Verges and Sister Paul-Helene Saint Raymond belonged to religious orders dedicated to supporting deprived children, and in their case, educating young Muslims in Algiers.

But their mission was violently ended on May 8, 1994, by gunmen who sprayed them with bullets in a library in the Casbah where they worked.

Like the seven French monks at the Tibehirine monastery south of Algiers who were killed two years later, they knew their lives were at risk in the capital's old city.

Six months earlier, the Islamists had demanded that all foreigners leave the country.

But the archbishop of Algiers, Ghaleb Bader, denies that Christians were persecuted during the civil war, which raged throughout the 1990s and left up to 200,000 people dead.

"All the Algerian people were victims of this violence, which is not possible to explain," he said.

"There was no persecution of Christians. The church had its share of suffering, paying (like everyone) for the blind violence that struck indiscriminately."

Sister Veronica, who arrived in Algeria in 1997, agrees.

Behind her, on a wall of the Bencheneb library, with its colonnades and mosaics, hangs a picture of Henri Verges.

"These are people who paid with their lives like the Algerians," she says, "with the difference that they had the chance to leave, but chose to stay out of loyalty."

The Casbah library, which was closed after the deadly attack, has now reopened. However, much of the building has since been allocated to homeless families, meaning that only 200 of the 1,200 seats remain.

Sister Veronica says some of the former pupils, who went on to pursue successful careers, return to inquire about their teachers, without knowing the ful story of what happened.

"When I tell them, they shed tears," says the Augustinian nun, whose order lost two of its members in October 1994, killed in the nearby Bab El Oued neighbourhood.

Times have changed, and Sister Veronica says she now feels "very welcome" in Algeria.

"If I didn't have friends, if I didn't trust people, I wouldn't have stayed."

-- Monks' deaths unresolved --

Archbishop Bader, a Jordanian, insists that the Catholic community is "not restricted" or discriminated against today in Algeria, whose population is 99 percent Sunni Muslim.

The number of Christians in Algeria is officially estimated at around 10,000, but the real figure is probably much higher, given the thousands of expatriate workers from the Philippines and China, as well as students from sub-Saharan Africa.

The archbishop says he recently celebrated mass with 600 Filipino workers, after getting the "approval" of the local authorities.

As another sign of the ties linking Catholics in Algeria and the Muslim population, he mentions the presence of 20 imams last week at the ceremony to mark the restoration of the Basilica of St Augustine in Annaba.

This was followed by intercommunal prayers to strengthen ties between Muslims and Christians.

Separately, the church in Algeria has distanced itself from a sensitive lawsuit filed in France by the families of the Tibehirine monks, relating to the circumstances in which they died in 1996 after their abduction by Islamist insurgents.

"There is a case that has been brought by some of the families. We are following it, but the church will not take part in it," said Ghaleb.

Having examined the theory that the Armed Islamic Group killed the seven monks, French judge Marc Trevidic is now investigating the possibility that they were accidentally slain by the Algerian army, as claimed by a France's military attache in Algiers at the time.

The judge visited Algeria in November and plans to return when the heads of the decapitated monks are to be exhumed, to make progress with an investigation that has stalled for more than a decade. But no date has been fixed.


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 May 27 2016 - Qatar- Five key clashes in the Champions League finalThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The 2016 UEFA Champions League Final logo at the Piazza Duomo in Milan, Italy, on 26 May 2016. EPA/DANIEL DAL ZENNARO Madrid:Real Madrid face local rivals Atletico Madrid ...

 May 27 2016 - Qatar- Al Shaqab students graduate at a glittering ceremonyThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Students who received equestrian training at Al Shaqab, pose for a photograph with special guests during their graduation ceremony after receiving their certificates ...

 May 27 2016 - Qatar- Four international players to continue with Al RayyanThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Ali Salem Afifa, Head of Football at Al Rayyan Doha: Following a successful local football season, Al Rayyan have secured the services of their four foreign players ...

 May 27 2016 - UAE plays vital role in development projects in JordanMENAFN
(MENAFN) Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and Jordan worked together towards achieving their sustainable development goals, supporting projects in fundamental sectors.Moreover, ADFD has funded ...

 May 27 2016 - Cairo USD 3.6bn residential project attracts foreign investmentMENAFN
(MENAFN) The Ministry of housing introduced Egypt's biggest upcoming project, USD 3.6bn Mountain View iCity, which will be launched in New Cairo.Furthermore, the project's main layout will encompass ...

 May 27 2016 - Qatar, Luxembourg trade relations growMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar and Luxembourg have viewed growth due to the exchange of official visits between the two sides and the signing of mutual deal on many areas.Moreover, Qatar sees innovation as a main ...

 May 26 2016 - Saudi- Living cost index in the Kingdom rises 0.2% in AprilSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh, Sha'ban 19, 1437, May 26, 2016, SPA -- The index of the cost of living in the Kingdom rose by 0.2% during the month of April 2016 compared to the previous month ...

 May 26 2016 - Governor of Riyadh Region receives Cyprus' AmbassadorSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh, Sha'ban 19, 1437, May 26, 2016, SPA -- Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh region, received here today the Ambassador of Cyprus to the ...

 May 26 2016 - Israeli warplanes launch raids on Gaza StripSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Ramallah, 19 Sha'ban, 1437, May 26, 2016, SPA -- Israeli warplanes launched today a series of air raids on sites and targets in the Gaza Strip. Local security sources ...

 May 26 2016 - Saudi- Three dead, many injured in Mumbai chemical factory blastSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) New Delhi, Sha'ban 19, 1437, May 26, 2016, SPA -- At least three people have died and several have been injured in a huge blast at a chemical factory on the outskirts ...

more...


 





Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help