The Problem

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

Libya

Leader:Prime Minister Fayiz al-Saraj
Population: 6.5 million (36,200 Christians)
World Watch List Rank: 4

“They were martyred in the name of Jesus Christ. They kept the faith until the last moment. They didn’t deny the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are proud of them.”
The brother of one of 21 Egyptian migrant workers executed in Libya by Islamic State extremists

The basics

Libyan Christians have to keep their faith entirely secret, and churches for Libyans are forbidden. It’s illegal to share the gospel with Muslims, and Christians who publicly express their faith or share it with others risk being arrested or attacked by their families and communities. Without a single central government, much of Libya is effectively lawless, adding to the violent persecution and pressure felt by Christians in the country. While migrant Christians are allowed to practise their faith in Libya, many have paid the ultimate price; In 2016 79 Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees were kidnapped by IS militants and 30 of them were killed. Believers who share their faith publicly risk arrest and violence.

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 36,200 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.

Where is it?

Pray this…

Father God,
even in places where rules are ignored and injustice is everywhere, Your name is still holy. Even where Your Word is restricted and people struggle to meet to worship, You are still mighty. Strengthen Your Church in Libya. Give them what they need – fresh ways to learn more, meet together and encourage one another. Bring protection so the small Christian community can share Your love. Change the future, so that Libya stops sliding into chaos. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen.

Other things to pray for…

  • For protection for Christians in Libya – hundreds are reported to have been abducted by paramilitaries and imprisoned
  • For Christians to find ways to meet together – religious gatherings are illegal for Libyans if they are not Islamic, which makes Libyan believers afraid to meet
  • For ongoing peace talks between different ruling factions to be fruitful, and for a stable and safe Libya to be formed.

Maizah’s story…

Libyan Christians from a Muslim background face violence from their families and communities to renounce their faith. Like Maizah.* She and her family fled to Egypt when civil war came to Libya, and there she met a woman who told her about Jesus. Back in Libya, the Christians she secretly met with were arrested and she fled again. She thought her family would protect her when they tracked her down – but they beat her, and tried to force her into marriage with a Muslim. Luckily she managed to get away to a safe house, and is now safe in another country.

The good news: How we’re helping…

In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in Libya through training, literature distribution, socio-economic development and advocacy.

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.