Algeria drafts new laws on religious societies

AFP , Saturday 8 Sep 2012

The Algerian government propose a new law that would further restrict the establishment of religious organisations

Algeria is drafting laws which will give the authorities more control over the formation of religious organisations, the official news agency APS said on Saturday.

The creation of religious societies will be subject to a "special system" after the new legislation is introduced, it said.

Algiers voted on introducing a new law late last year, as part of a reform package pushed by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika at the start of the Arab Spring.

Under the new system, religious societies will have to register with religious affairs authorities which will have "discretionary" powers to examine such applications, the draft legislation says.

Ties with political parties or funding from them will not be allowed, it adds.

It also says that religious organisations' work will be scrutinised and that they may be dissolved in the event of an "attack on national sovereignty."

Existing laws introduced in 1990 have "failings that allowed the creation of a plethora of organisations which do not meet with legal conditions," Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia said.

In a Muslim-majority country where the state religion is Islam, the new regulations will require religious societies to "respect national unity and the role of religion in society," said religious affairs official Adda Fellahi.

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