Persecution Update, December 2015: Libya

Libya is the most dangerous country in North Africa for Christians. Without a stable government, Libya is increasingly dominated by radical Islamists and outlaw gangs. Both evangelism and Christian gatherings are illegal. Believers suffer harassment by the state and also suffer from strong social pressures from their Muslim relatives. Of the few thousand believers in Libya, the majority are foreigners who are in Libya for work in that oil-rich country. Two years ago this month, Ronnie Smith, a Christian teacher from Austin, Texas, was targeted and killed for his faith by Islamic extremists. His widow, Anita, wrote an open letter to the Libyan people stating that she forgave her husband’s attackers and that she was praying for them. In February 2015, ISIS terrorists beheaded 21 Christian migrant workers on a beach, and in April they killed 30 more believers because they were “followers of the Cross.” When pressured to recant, these believers refused to deny Christ before their deaths. Please pray for God’s comfort and grace for the suffering Christian community in Libya.