Salafists protest at reopening of Algiers synagogues

Algiers - Salafists protested on Friday against government plans to reopen synagogues which were closed for security reasons during Algeria's civil war of the 1990s.

After weekly Friday prayers at Al-Mouminine mosque in the poor Belcourt district of Algiers, dozens of worshippers tried to march in the streets but were blocked by police, an AFP journalist reported.

"No to the Judaisation of Algeria!" and "Muslim Algeria!" were among slogans chanted by the demonstrators, who also condemned Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

They were responding to a call by Salafist leader Abdelfatah Hamadash to oppose the mooted reopening of synagogues, which he said would pave the way for "a normalisation of relations between Algeria and Israel".

The North African country's Jewish population, which numbered around 130 000 when a war of independence from France broke out in 1954, is tiny, although no official figures are available.

The vast majority left during the war, and those who remained were targeted by hardline Islamists during the bloody decade of civil strife, when two of their leaders were assassinated and synagogues closed.

Religious Affairs Minister Mohamed Aissa said last week that the Jewish community had "the right to exist," indicating its synagogues would eventually be reopened.

"There is a Jewish community in our country that is well accepted by Algerian society. It has the right to exist," he said, describing the community's leader as a "patriot".

He said, however, the reopening of synagogues was not likely soon, adding that "a place of worship must be made safe before it can be opened to the faithful".
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 1484 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 571 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.18
+0.7%
Rand - Pound
21.59
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.27
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.56
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.2%
Gold
1,792.23
-0.1%
Silver
23.24
+0.4%
Palladium
1,786.97
+2.0%
Platinum
957.04
+0.2%
Brent Crude
72.72
-11.6%
Top 40
63,270
+1.4%
All Share
69,641
+1.5%
Resource 10
65,264
+1.9%
Industrial 25
93,410
+0.5%
Financial 15
13,377
+2.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE