Algerian Jews recognized by government for first time
The minister of Religious Affairs and Endowment in Algeria, Abu Abdullah Ghulam Allah, has announced that for the first time, the Algerian government will adopt formal representation of the Jewish religion with the creation of a Jewish association. The development comes in response to a February 2006 law on non-Muslims in Algeria that will allow the Jewish community to be incorporated into the legal framework of the country.
El Khabar reported that this decision could likely “provoke violent reactions” from "extremists" in the country.
Mohamad Fellahi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowment, announced that the new association will be headed by Roger Said, who though not a Rabbi, is a “'religious and cultural person who will participate in many events in Algeria.” Said recently returned from Marseille to Algeria, where he left following an outbreak of violence against the country’s small Jewish community over a decade ago.
The association will reportedly work with the government to restore Jewish tombs in Constantine, Bildan and Tlemcen.
The size of the Algerian Jewish community is unknown, though it is assumed to be small—perhaps fewer than one hundred. Most Jews left the country following Algerian independence from France in 1962 out of fears of reprisals.