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Published on 31 October, 2011

NATO pulls out of Libya; Christians dig in

Libya (ODM/MNN) —
NATO decided to end its Libya mission October 31, even though members of the
National Transition Council asked that forces stay on two more months to
provide security for its borders. 

However, while it
doesn't want to provide personnel on the ground, the alliance has not rejected
a long-term "security cooperation." It's just one more part of dealing with
issues surrounding the new Libya.

The
novelty of independence may never get the chance to be felt. For 42 years, Moammar Gaddafi ruled Libya
with an iron fist. However, the transitional government has already declared
full Sharia law, which might mean a reversion back to more strict
interpretation than what was in place under Gaddafi.

"For
now, the small minority of local Libyan Christians will continue to keep a low
profile" says an Open Doors observer for the Middle East and North Africa.
Gaddafi led a tight security system that monitored his people, whether they
were Muslims or Christians. Foreign Christians were allowed to express their
faith publicly, but converts from a Muslim background kept a low profile for
fear of being expelled from their family or being forced to return to Islam.

When the borders were open, Open Doors
teams provided humanitarian aid as well as Christian literature and Bibles, with
the help of several ministry partners.

In
the aftermath of the revolution, the situation may not improve much for
believers. Dr.
Carl Moeller, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, says now that the NTC
has made their allegiance clear, Christians will continue to work carefully and
quietly in much the same way as they did during the Gaddafi regime. "Libya
will certainly not experience a democracy like many countries in the West.
Without total freedom of religion, a democracy cannot function. It is vital that
we continue to pray for these Christians and the future of the country."

Libya is ranked as 25th on the Open Doors World Watch List.
Libya adheres to Islamic law, and all citizens are Sunni Muslims "by
definition." Converting from Islam brings social pressure and ostracism. Most
Libyan Christians are forced to believe in secret and are afraid to meet with
other believers. Please continue to pray for these believers in this
turmoil. 

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About Libya

  • Primary Language: Arabic, Standard
  • Primary Religion: Islam
  • Evangelical: 0.3%
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