How many Christians are there in Libya?
There are believed to be about 35,100 Christians in Libya – just 0.5 per cent of the country’s 7.1 million population. Libya is predominantly Muslim.
How are Christians persecuted 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. But a small number of Libyans have encountered Jesus and chosen to follow Him. It could cost them everything.
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 to worship, and church life is almost non-existent.
Libya continues to be a place with very little political stability. Much of the country is ruled 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.
Christianity seems impossible in Libya. But God is the God of the impossible. Please pray that these strongholds are broken down, and more and more Libyans will courageously choose Jesus – knowing that He is worth the cost.
What’s life like for Christians in Libya?
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.
If being a Christian is dangerous in Libya, it’s even more dangerous to tell other people about Jesus. In March 2023, six Libyans were arrested for sharing their faith. They even face the death penalty. Their fate isn’t known yet, at the time of writing, but the arrest is having an effect the persecutors never predicted – more and more people are becoming curious about Christianity for the first time, because of the incident.
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Libya?
Libya has moved up two places on the World Watch List, with the highest increase in the number of reported incidents of violence against believers. It's clear there is no safe part of Libya for any believer.
How can I help Christians in North Africa?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Libya. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership and discipleship training, livelihood support, legal aid, trauma counselling, Bibles and pastoral care.
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 face an enormous cost for their faith. Please, God, be with Your people everywhere in Libya where they are at risk of attack and death. Amen.