Since the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011, the country has been struggling to regain political stability. Several armed groups have been fighting for power since then, and the political vacuum has allowed ISIL to become an important power player in the country and region.
According to Open Doors worker, Charley, since 2011, “The source of persecution [in Libya] has changed. … In the beginning of 2011, the main oppressor was the government of Gaddafi. After the dictator fell from power, Islamic extremism became the main persecutor of the local church.”
“The political chaos and lawlessness has resulted in danger for expat Christians,” explained Charley. “Many foreigners, among them tens of thousands of Christians, live in Libya because of their jobs. In many cases, these migrants had problems finding work in their own country and they came to Libya to do the work that Libyans themselves don’t want to do, such as construction, garbage collection or street cleaning.”
Due to the widely publicised executions of this year of Egyptian and Eritrean Christians in Libya by groups linked to ISIL, many Christians have fled the country.
“Some Christians probably choose to flee the country in the small boats that make almost daily attempts to escape from Libya to Europe,” says Charley. “Many might have returned to their own countries, but I also hear of people who have … returned to Libya because they were unable to find work in their own country.”
The migrant churches in Libya continue to hold their meetings. There are no reliable statistics about how many of these Christians have left the country, but the number of Muslim Background Believers in Libya is growing according to Charley. “We now believe there are between 150 and 180 Libyan believers,” he says. “This is a result of evangelism via radio, television and internet.”
- Pray for Libya, for peace and for political stability in this country, and a government that will govern with wisdom, justice and integrity, and allow freedom of worship to Libyan Christians.
- Pray for Christians in Libya, for protection and for a faith that stands firm in the midst of the storm around them.
- Give thanks for the growing MBB Church in Libya. Pray for divine protection for these new Christians, for opportunities to grow in faith and knowledge of Jesus, and to witness to their communities to the truth of the Gospel.
- Give thanks for the Christians programmes broadcast over Satellite TV, radio and the internet. Pray that many will find life in Christ through these programmes.
Acts 11 vs 21: “The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord.”