Libya (MNN) — In Libya, persecution is an inherent risk of becoming a Christian. According to Riadh Jaballah, friend of Voice of the Martyrs Canada, the Libyan Church is primarily an underground church.
“The believers still don’t connect to each other because they’re afraid because the persecution,” he says. “They have this fear to connect and to share and to witness.”
That persecution largely stems from a lack of stability in Libya’s government and leadership. Some countries face eras of violence or conflict over specific issues; Libya faces these obstacles constantly. “Libya has plunged into chaos and divisions with government[s] competent for the power,” Jaballah says. “The government is like two states in one.”
The one thing that seems to remain consistent is that Libya is a primarily Islamic country. Unfortunately, this means that extremists take special offense to Christians who have converted from Islam. “If anybody left Islam… they believe they can kill them or persecute them.”
Right now, at least six believers are languishing in Libyan prisons awaiting sentencing for illegal converstion from Islam. One of the potential punishments they could face is execution.
What’s the solution? Jaballah says it’s important to fall back on God’s plan and pray. “We keep praying for the stability and the peace,” he says. “Persecution is not something new. It’s not something just happened for our believers there in Libya; persecution [is] part in our faith.”
Especially pray for the leaders. They’re the ones who other Libyan Christians, sometimes terrified and questioning Libyan Christians, are looking to for comfort and guidance. In turn, those leaders are turning to God.
Jabllah likes to remind the Church in Libya that while they have a history spotted by persecution, that history is also one held up by strong Christian leaders and a heritage of God-given strength. “And so we encourage them through many ways: prayer, teaching, and discipling.”
If you want to follow the stories of the Libyan Church, you can do that alongside us here at Mission Network News. You can also read stories from believers on the ground in Libya, especially those working with Voice of the Martyrs Canada, right here.
Header photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada.