Libya (MNN) — Libyan authorities have arrested several young men this year as they exercised their free expression. Their crime? defying Muslim values. Authorities released videos of the young men being forced to confess conspiring with “feminists” and “agnostics.” Others have gone into hiding after facing death threats.
Once a heartland for Christianity, Libya has also become a country known for the persecution of Christians. Sammy, a Libyan Christian, says, “It was a very rich and important part of the first centuries of the Church. But when Islam conquered North Africa, the Church was eradicated from Libya. That was 1,200 years ago now.
“All of that time, there has basically been no indigenous Christian testimony in Libya, with very few known believers.”
Sammy serves with Gospel Work Libya. The ministry operates out of Europe but involves Libyans reaching Libyans. He says these believers need support because the persecution is fierce. “It comes from the top of the government, from the ministers from the security apparatus, down to the extreme Muslims that operate in Libya: al-Qaeda and the Salafist movements.”
But a lot of persecution also comes from families, who seek to preserve their honor. Sammy says, “Recently, we had a young kid who was stabbed by his uncle, and only saved by a friend. He was then forced to be a practicing Muslim afterward.”
A new beginning
But now, Christianity has begun to spread again. Sammy says, “We know a few Christians that actually meet together. But it’s very much in its infancy right now, seeing the Libyan church resurrected.”
People across the Middle East and North Africa are flocking to Christianity from Islam. Many public-facing churches have been established in other countries. In Libya, Christians remain largely isolated from one another.
Ask God to protect Libyan Christians and grow the Church there.
The header photo shows the ruins of an ancient Christian church in Libya. (Photo courtesy of Hakeem.gadi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)