The Problem

100,000 million Christians face persecution simply for following Jesus 
The Problem

Libya

Leader: Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh
How many Christians?: 34,600 (0.5% of the population)
World Watch List Rank: 4

Where is it?

The facts

  • Since the revolution in 2011 the situation for Christians has got worse and worse.
  • The government says all Libyans are Sunni Muslims, though there are an estimated 34,600 Christians (the vast majority of these are migrants and not Libyan nationals).
  • It’s illegal to take Arabic Bibles into Libya or to share the gospel.
  • The government has been unable to stop violent extremist groups, like those affiliated with IS, taking control of strategic areas.
  • A key leader has suggested that Christians should be thought of as a threat to national security. Police monitor Christian activity.
  • Migrant workers from other countries are allowed churches, but churches for Libyans are forbidden.
  • Libyan converts may be beaten by family members, whereas Christian migrant workers can face threats and severe violence.

The basics

Libya is effectively a lawless land where to be a Christian is to live a secret life of faith.

Those who leave Islam to follow Jesus face immense pressure from family to renounce their Christian beliefs. Their community excludes them, and they can be left homeless, jobless and alone. Telling others about Jesus can lead to arrest and even violent punishment.

Believers are further exposed to danger since Libya has no central government, so laws are not enforced uniformly. Targeted kidnappings and executions are always a possibility for believers.

Meet Maizah

Maizah (not her real name) grew up in a strict Muslim family in Libya, but she always had questions about God. When she was teenager she had a vision of a man of light standing in her room who said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. Her family moved to Egypt where they had a Christian neighbour who explained to Maizah that the man she saw was Jesus.

Maizah secretly became a Christian – her family didn’t know. They all went back to Libya and Maizah was part of a secret church. But the church was raided by police. Maizah’s name was found and her Christian identity was uncovered. Her parents found out and were really angry. They tricked Maizah into coming home, only for her to be beaten and questioned. They then tried to force her to marry a Muslim cleric. She escaped and is now safe in another country, but her outraged family are still looking for her – she fears they will not forgive her.

How is Open Doors helping?

Open Doors works with local partners in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, pastoral care and prayer support.

Pray this…

Father, even with the threat of imminent danger, people are bravely seeking You. Thank You for their inspiring example. Protect our brothers and sisters, draw them close to You, and encourage and strengthen their hearts. Help local partners to identify and interact effectively and safely with believers who need help. Bring about a change in the status quo in Libya with strong and fair government and protection for people of all faiths. Amen.

Latest news and articles on Libya…

Click the Libya tag below for a list of the latest articles and news on Libya…

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