Libya

Of the 20,000 Christians in Libya, it is estimated that just 150 of them are Libyans.

Libya

World Watch List Rank World Watch List Score
11 78/100
Leader Population
Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj 6,409,000 (20,000 Christians)
Main Religion Government
Islam Transitional
Source of Persecution Persecution Level
Islamic Oppression Very High Persecution

Most are migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. While these believers are allowed to meet together in churches, Libyans are not allowed to attend; Libya is a deeply Islamic nation, as well as a tribal one, and leaving Islam is seen as a betrayal. Libyan Christians must keep their faith secret. All Christians are at risk of attack by radical Islamists such as the Islamic State.

PERSECUTION IN LIBYA

"What religion are you?"

Antonio Espares and his two co-workers had been abducted by masked men. His friends said that they were Muslims. Antonio could have done the same; he was a migrant worker from the Philippines, and he had registered himself as a Muslim, thinking it might make life easier in his new home. But when faced with death, he couldn't deny his God.

"I am a Christian," he said.

The two Muslims were allowed to go to a van, which drove away. Antonio's captors cut off his lips, then forced him to kneel, and cut off the front of his thighs. Finally, they cut off his head.

Since the downfall of Gaddafi and his regime, the situation for Christians in Libya has deteriorated. The government claims all Libyans are Sunni Muslims, and it is illegal to bring Arabic Bibles into the country or to evangelise, but the rule of law is largely absent in Libya. The main threat Christians face is from militant Islamist groups; violence against Christians has continued on a large scale and with impunity.Although migrant workers are allowed to have churches, churches for Libyans forbidden. There are few Libyan believers, and those who convert from Islam must keep their faith a secret. There are reports of converts being beaten by family members when their new beliefs were discovered. But as Antonio's story demonstrates, even migrant Christians are not safe.

HOW WE HELP

In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Libya through:

  • Training
  • Literature distribution
  • Socio-economic development projects
  • Advocacy.

PRAYER POINTS FOR LIBYA

  • With the country in a state of anarchy, Islamic radicals are able to attack Christians with impunity. Ask God to change the hearts of these militants, and protect Christians in Libya
  • Although there aren't many, the number of Libyan believers from Muslim backgrounds is growing. Pray they will grow in faith and find fellowship with others
  • Pray that many would hear the gospel through the internet and social media and choose to follow Jesus.
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TAKE ACTION

  • Pray for those that are suffering by reading the latest prayer requests from persecuted Christians around the world.
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  • Advocate for persecuted Christians by signing the Hope for Middle East Petition.
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