News / Thoughts

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News / Thoughts

21 Christians beheaded in Libya

February 16, 2015

Horrific news has appeared over the last 24 hours. 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were kidnapped in January have been killed in the most brutal circumstances. A video of the murders was posted online by a Libyan group claiming allegiance to Islamic State. It’s obvious the horrific tactics used by the group in Syria and Iraq are inspiring others to equally barbaric attacks.

The workers were taken from their poor village in Upper Egypt in January. A statement says the victims were “people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church”.

Egypt, itself facing political turmoil, has responded to the attacks by bombing various sites in Libya. The situation in the bordering country has worsened since the overthrow of the previous leader Muammar Gaddafi. There are currently two rival governments, whilst the city of Benghazi is largely controlled by Islamist fighters.

Despite the unrest and obvious security issues, many poor Egyptians head over the border looking for work – just like the 21 who were kidnapped and killed.

Where did this happen?

More on Libya

Libya is currently number 13 on the World Watch List. 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. Abdul Salam Bargathi, a commander in Benghazi, has even suggested that Christians could be considered a threat to national security, and secret police and spy networks monitor those who could be considered subversive. Christians also face attacks from militant Islamist groups, and 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.

Source: BBC News, Open Doors

Please pray

  • Pray for the families, friends and community of those workers that were killed. Ask for comfort, for protection from further attacks and for the ability to forgive.
  • Ask that those who committed the murders would understand the brutality of their actions and that they would turn from destructive ways. Ask God to reveal himself to them, and help them change.
  • Even if the Libyan government was favourable towards Christians, it would be powerless to protect them as the rule of law is absent. Pray that an effective government will be formed that will guarantee safety and freedom for all.
  • Pray for protection and strength for Christians in Libya and those on the neighbouring Egyptian border.
  • Praise God that the gospel is reaching Libyans through satellite TV and the internet. Pray that God would use these channels to reach many with His love.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.