A Christian woman in Algeria was refused permission to open a nursery school purely on the grounds of her faith, according to her lawyers. Her application to open a nursery in the province of Tizi Ouzou met all the criteria required by law, but was refused on unspecified security grounds.
She and her husband Kalim, who spoke with Clarion Project, believe the real reason for refusal to be that she is Christian.
Malika M is suing the Direction De L’Action Sociale (Directorate of Social Action DAS), the body in charge of issuing such permissions, for religious discrimination. Algeria is legally a secular republic in which all citizens are equal before the law and there can be no segregation based on race, religion or sex.
Malika was previously director of another nursery which was subject to an investigation after one of the workers was caught stealing. That woman vowed to exact revenge on the nursery, according to a report filed by Malika. An investigation was then opened against her in which she was accused of proselytizing to children.
Legal complaints have been filed with the Director of DAS, the Governor of Tizi Ouzou province and the Minister of Solidarity and Social Action. Malika M. is seeking compensation for the $15,000 in expenses she incurred in attempting to gain the nursery license as well as obtaining the license.
It has now been almost a year since the application was filed and receipt of it was confirmed three separate times in May and July 2016. Maliki M. has been unable to operate her business during this time causing considerable financial hardship.
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