What does persecution look like in Libya?
Libya is effectively a lawless land where both native Christians and those passing through from other countries face extreme violence. With no central government to maintain law and order, militant Islamic extremist groups and organised crime groups both wield power. They target and kidnap Christians, and some believers have been killed.
If a Libyan from a Muslim background becomes a Christian, they are likely to face intense pressure and abuse from their family and the wider community to make them renounce their faith, or even be killed. Christians who publicly express their faith and try to share the gospel with others are likely to face arrest or retribution from extremist groups.
Large numbers of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa pass through Libya in an attempt to reach Europe. Many of these are Christians, and their time there is highly dangerous. They are likely to encounter harassment and threats from the Islamic extremist groups, or to be abducted and used as slave labour by organised crime groups. Some are put straight into the hands of these gangs by their human traffickers.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Christian migrants in Libya are very vulnerable to mistreatment, abduction and slavery.
Believers from a Muslim background are the most at risk of violence from Islamic extremist groups, particularly in the areas where they are most active, such as the capital.
What has changed this year?
There has been a small decrease in Libya's 'persecution score', according to World Watch List research, caused mainly by a decrease in reported violence (although the violence score is still very high). Persecution in all spheres of life remains at extreme levels. Although the country stabilised to a certain extent and saw less direct conflict last year, the overall vulnerability of Christians in the country remains extremely high.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Libya?
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, Bibles and pastoral care.
How can you pray for Libya?
- Please pray for nationwide stability, that law and order will come quickly to Libya
- Pray that God would break the power of the organised criminal gangs exploiting vulnerable people
- Pray for Christians to be able to communicate safely with one another and be encouraged.
Father God, we weep for the lawless situation in Libya. We pray against the evils of human trafficking and the organised crime gangs who profit from human misery. Break their power and bring back law, order and justice to Libya. Thank you that it is not illegal to become a Christian in Libya – we pray for a strong and just future government that will enforce that law. Give our brothers and sisters across Libya great comfort and hope in You, and safe ways to communicate with and encourage one another. Amen.