What does persecution look like in Libya?
Libya continues to be a place with very little political stability. Much of the country exists in a sort of perpetual anarchy, ruled over by militias linked to the official government in the West of the country or by the Libyan National Army in the East, with strong Islamist influences in both cases. Due to lawlessness, Christians can easily be targets for violence and death.
Converts from Islam face the most intense and violent pressure from their family and community. They risk house arrest, attack, abduction, sexual violence and murder. It is incredibly dangerous for converts to meet together to worship, and church life is almost non-existent.
Even Christians who aren't Libyan or converts are at risk. Christians from other parts of Africa are targeted by extremist groups. Christians have been kidnapped and, in a few high-profile incidents, brutally murdered. Christians from Sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom come to Libya as displaced people trying to get to Europe, face additional risk. Because of their lack of official status, they can be kidnapped and trafficked, and extremist groups target these believers as well.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Christians are most at risk in parts of Libya where radical Islamic militants are active. This vulnerability leads many foreign Christians to avoid traveling around the country at all. Converts are additionally vulnerable from their community and family. Finally, migrant Christians who are arrested and detained while trying to reach Europe can face deadly pressure because they can be abducted and forced into heavy labor, or even pushed into sex work.
What has changed this year?
Libya continues to be one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. And this year, the violence against believers rose. It's clear there is no safe part of Libya for any believer. Allegiance to Jesus is enough to result in pressure and violence.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Libya?
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership and discipleship training, livelihood support, legal aid, trauma counseling, Bibles and pastoral care.
How can you pray for Libya?
- Libya remains deeply unstable, and parts of the country have little rule of law. This leads to danger for God’s people. Pray for stability and that order will come to Libya.
- Ask God to protect migrant Christians. Pray they would be protected from militant extremists.
- Pray that God would help His people be able to find fellowship with one another. Ask God to give the Libyan church the ability to meet.
Father God, Libya has been so deadly for Christians for so long. We lift up our brothers and sisters who live under constant risk just because they worship you. Please comfort those who have lost loved ones, or who have been kicked out of their families. Please show Your face and mercy to believers who have been detained and risk being forced into labor or sex work. Please, God, be with Your people everywhere in Libya where they are at risk of attack and death. Have mercy on them and us. In Jesus' name, Amen.