07 July 2009

Algeria: Jewish society formed

Algeria has created its first official Jewish association, to be headed by a prominent Algerian Jewish lawyer, according to the Jerusalem Post.

A 2006 law on non-Moslem religions provides for representation from accredited associations from those religions. Algerian minister for Religious Affairs Mohamed Fellahi appointed Roger Saïd, a lawyer from the Bilda region, as the representative of the Jewish community.

There are no official records on the number of Jews in Algeria; estimates range from eight to less than 1,000. There are 25 registered synagogues, but no official data on congregants.

"When I traveled to Algeria, I went there freely, without any kind of constraint," Bernard Haddad, Algerian native and founder of L'Association Mémoire Active Bônoise, told The Media Line. "I was able to move around freely, without being questioned."

Mr. Haddad's organization is based in France and deals primarily with the protection and preservation of Jewish cemeteries in Algeria.

There have been several problems with vandalism in Jewish cemeteries in Algeria, and as the number of Jews in Algeria dwindles, there are fewer people to advocate for the preservation of Jewish heritage in the country.
Haddad said many Algerian cemeteries have been restored.

Three waves of migration to France occurred in 1870 (40,000 Algerian Jews were granted citizenship under the Crimeaux degree); after Algerian independence in 1962; and in the late 1980s, with the rise of Muslim fundamentalism.

Read the complete article here.

1 comment:

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