Libya (ODM/MNN) — It’s confirmed: fighters from the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) have another mass abduction under their belt in Libya.
Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry tells us, “88 Christians were kidnapped. They were coming from Eritrea, and they were escaping from a very difficult situation. They were transporting into and through Libya when they were kidnapped by the Islamic State.”
He goes on to say that those taken were targeted. “There was a truckload full of Eritreans who were probably migrant workers. When the truck was captured, the Islamic State sorted the folks in the truck by whether they were Muslim or Christian.” Of this group that has been kidnapped, it is reported that there are numerous children and at least 12 women.
The Libya Herald, as cited by Open Doors, reported: “When IS first stopped the truck, the terrorists demanded that Muslims should make themselves known. All who responded were quizzed on the Quran and their religious observance.” Curry confirms, “They let the Muslims go, and they kidnapped the Christians; so they’re 100% Christians, self-identified.”
Concern for the group’s welfare is rising. Earlier this year in Libya, groups of 21 Egyptian and 28 Ethiopian Christians were kidnapped by IS and later killed. Curry doesn’t know if this group will be killed at the beginning of Ramadan, June 18, the start of the holiest month of Islam. “It’s the largest number that we know of within Libya, for sure. We had incidents where they kidnapped 320 in Syria along the Syrian-Turkey border there.” Even if that’s not the intent, he says, “The Islamic State is trying to gain control over Libya, over this area, and they’re making these episodic attacks on Christians in order to bring fear and instability to the region.”
Throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and even parts of Asia, unprecedented persecution has been occurring. On the policy side, “I think this is the most important thing we could be doing right now: trying to figure out what we can do to save Christian civilization within the Middle East, within Libya and these regions, and just be thoughtful and prayerful about it and let our voices be heard,” remarks Curry.
To create a way for you to advocate for those throughout this region, Open Doors has a petition for you to sign, asking President Obama to take action and address the urgent security concerns of believers in this region by appointing a Special Envoy.
On the spiritual side, the impact on religious freedom has been severe. Openly sharing personal faith in Christ or talking about their beliefs can have deadly results, Curry adds. “In many, many places around the world, it is very dangerous to identify yourself as a Christian, to be caught with a Bible, to call yourself a follower of Jesus.”
Pray for the kidnapped Eritreans. Pray that they will put their trust in God and that whatever happens, they will experience God’s peace in their hearts. Pray that their abductors would be supernaturally transformed by the power of God.