Algeria
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (97.4%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Algeria Northern Africa World
Muslim (all denominations combined) 98.3% 93.4% 22.8%
 
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 97.4% 92.8% 19%
     
  • Ibadi Muslim
  • 0.6% --- ---
     
  • Shia Muslim
  • 0.4% 0.3% 3.4%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 0.1% 5.3% 29.9%
    Other Religionist 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 1.4% 0.8% 12%
    Unknown 0.1% < 0.1% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 919,595 square miles and a population of 35 million. More than 99 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. There is a small community of Ibadi Muslims in the province of Ghardaia. Official data on the number of Christian and Jewish citizens is not available; however, practitioners estimated their combined number at 50,000. The vast majority of Christians and Jews fled the country following independence from France in 1962. Many of those who remained emigrated in the 1990s due to acts of terrorism committed by Muslim extremists. According to Christian community leaders, evangelical Christians, mostly in the Kabylie region, account for the largest number of Christians, followed by Methodists and members of other Protestant denominations, Roman Catholics, and Seventh-day Adventists. A significant proportion of Christian foreign residents are students and illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa seeking to reach Europe; their numbers are difficult to estimate.

    For security reasons, due mainly to the civil conflict, Christians concentrated in the large cities of Algiers, Annaba, and Oran in the mid-1990s.

    During the reporting period, the press frequently reported that Christian proselytizing had resulted in significant numbers of Muslims in the Kabylie region converting to Christianity. However, Christian sources reported those figures as exaggerated and the Government estimated the number of conversions that took place in 2007 at 140. Reporting suggests that citizens, not foreigners, make up the majority of those actively proselytizing in Kabylie.

    Since 1994 the Jewish community has diminished to virtual nonexistence due to fears of terrorist violence. The Jewish community was not active, and the synagogues remained closed.

    In Algiers church services are primarily attended by members of the diplomatic community, expatriate Western businesspersons, sub-Saharan African migrants, and a few local Christians.


    Sources

    1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    3.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

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