Libya: Violence is worse than you see on news

By February 24, 2011

Libya (MNN) — Media reports claim it's "civil war-like" in Libya as anti-government protests are now being put down by pro-Gaddafi mercenaries. Open report suggests hundreds have been killed. As Libya continues to spin out of control, Christians are wondering how the chaos will affect them.

President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller says according to their people on the ground, its worse than what's being reported on television. "The police have abandoned the streets in Tripoli. And it seems mercenaries are being used to target people in the streets; literally hundreds of people have been killed. And the chaos is intense right now."

Many have likened this situation to a civil war, but Moeller says this could spiral into a tribal war. "On the eastern side of the country, in Benghazi, that city is almost completely free, if not completely free from government forces because it's from a different tribe than Gaddafi's tribe that controls Tripoli."

The fear is that as Gaddafi holds on to power, the country will be thrown into even more turmoil. Moeller says, "The country can plunge into economic chaos. Gaddafi has pledged to blow up all the oil lines and other things. And it could become a tribal-based civil war where only the Lord knows who will emerge from that situation."

How does this affect the church in Libya? Moeller says, "The indigenous church in Libya is small. These are primarily Muslim-background believers who are, by definition, in the shadows of society. They keep their identities a secret. They're referred to as 'secret believers.' But this church has been meeting for decades."

While many are concerned now, the fear is for the future. Moeller says, "There's no institution to carry on a secular democratic tradition. So the only people who have survived after 30 years are those who are ideologically tight and organized."

That boils down to Evangelical Christians or fundamentalist Muslims.

Moeller is asking people to pray "that the Christians are able to use their new freedoms to create more stability for their country. [Pray also] that the extremists will not take power, but that those that brought revolution and want good things to come to their people [would win] and that Christians would have more religious freedom as a result." 

In the meantime, Open Doors will be going in to help the church in Libya. "Immediately as the gunfire stops, basically we will be moving in to do structure and support projects to help the church take advantage of the moment of openness that we may see in the next couple of months."

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