There are believed to be about 35,400 Christians in Libya – just 0.5% of the country’s 7 million population. Libya is predominantly Muslim.
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. The risks of being openly Christian are so high that it's almost impossible to meet up in groups for fellowship unless the whole family converts at once.
Large numbers of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa pass through Libya to reach Europe. Many of these are Christians, and their time there is highly dangerous. They are likely to encounter harassment and threats from Islamic extremist groups, or 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.
Persecution against Christian has got slightly better in the past year, with fewer reported incidents of violence. 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.
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 training, discipleship, livelihood support, Bibles and pastoral care.
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.
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