There are approximately 34,500 Christians in Libya – 0.5 per cent of a population of 6.7 million. But the number of Libyan Christians (rather than migrant workers from other countries) is very small – only about 150 believers.
There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, and no possibility of public church life in Libya. The tiny number of Libyan Christians from a Muslim background face violent and intense pressure from their family and the wider community to renounce their faith. They are also vulnerable to abduction, murder or sexual assault by Islamic militant groups and organised crime groups.
Sharing your faith publicly is illegal in Libya, and those who try to share their Christian faith with others risk violent opposition and arrest. Without a central government, the country is effectively in a state of lawless anarchy. There is little chance of legal justice when Christians are attacked or killed.
Christians migrating from sub-Saharan Africa are also vulnerable to being held in detention centres or handed over to persecutors by those trafficking them. Believers are often then forced into intense labour or prostitution.
“‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,’ He said to me. Then He was gone.”Maizah
Maizah (name changed) became a Christian after encountering Jesus in a vision. She had fellowship with another Christian woman in Libya, an ex-pat from Egypt – but that woman was arrested for her faith. Maizah discovered that the police were after her too, and she fled to Turkey.
Maizah’s family persuaded her to return to Libya – but they had lied about accepting her new faith. She was interrogated by a group of men in her home: “I thought that my brother would protect me. I stood up and said that I wouldn’t answer to these questions. They grabbed me. One of them hit me with his fist in my face. They continued to hit me more and more.”
A local elder told Maizah that her name was on a list of people who should be killed. He offered to marry her – in addition to the three wives he already had. Maizah agreed – but fled the country again. She is still scared her family will find out where she is.
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Libya. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in North Africa through training, literature distribution, socio-economic development and advocacy.
Lord, we ask for Your blessing on Libya and those who follow You there. Please give strength and perseverance to those who cannot publicly praise You or have any semblance of church life. Protect them from violence and kidnapping, and change the hearts of those who persecute Christians. Amen.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.