Algeria: lawyer sees evangelist plot behind adoptions

Muslim children vulnerable to organ traffickers

05 June, 18:50

(ANSAmed) - TUNIS, JUNE 5 - 'As in many other Arab countries, there exists in Algeria an international evangelical network whose aim is to inculcate children through the method of adoption and which has been known to stoop to trafficking in humans and in body parts.' If it were not for the fact that it comes from a legal professional, this detailed accusation might have appeared paradoxical. But it fits perfectly into the background of controversy that surrounds the activities of certain Christian churches in Algeria as in other Muslim countries, whose aggressive style of evangelism leads to a clash between religions, and which are often countered with measures whose legality appears questionable.

The above reprimand has come from Fatima Zohra Ben Brahem, a lawyer at the Court of Algiers, who chose a symbolic place to make it: the national conference on ''Kafala and the Adoption of the Judicial and Religious point of View''. Kafala is the practice of adoption in the Muslim world, by which the adopted child is not given the same rights as a natural one. The subject is complex, but for Ms Ben Brahem its complexity fades in comparison to the offensive launched by Christian churches in their drive to convert as many Algerian children as they can, using the method of adoption and taking them abroad. As long, that is, Ms Ben Brahem indicated, they are not simply being used for organ trafficking.

One of the matters touched upon by the legal expert was that of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights, which, she said: ''has enabled foreigners to adopt Arab children without having to take their religion into account''.

The issue is therefore one with a multitude of aspects: it does not just concern safeguarding children and the cultural heritage of their family of origin, but also the existence of an international ''project'' aiming at the enforced evangelisation of vulnerable persons in no position to defend themselves.

Arab nations have long adopted a stance of dogged defence of their own characteristics in their relations with the world's other religions, but the words of Ms Ben Brahem go beyond this: she speaks of an ''international network'' with a definite mission and against which the national authorities are powerless to act, being deprived of the necessary instruments.

What raises the most concern among defenders of Muslim traditions is the fact that it is children who have no registered parents that are most liable to be adopted, having been abandoned at birth. The size of the problem can be appreciated from the fact that the number of adoptable children registered each year a being born ''nes sous x'' (i.e. with an 'x' where the parents' names should be inserted) is three thousand. The figure appears to be a default one. (ANSAmed).

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