Three foreign Christians were arrested in Libya
in the past three weeks and remain in custody. Additionally, Libyan authorities arrested seven Libyans, many of whom are believers. Some of the arrested Libyans even talked about their conversion from Islam to Christianity in a video confession. Two American Christians were also detained and then released in the past weekend—they were able to leave the country.
All those arrested were accused of apostasy and proselytization. They were detained by the Internal Security Agency (ISA), which is affiliated with al-Radaa, an Islamist special operations military police unit. The ISA is usually concerned with high-profile organized crime but has also been involved in tracking political dissidents and those involved in activities considered to be “un-Islamic.”
Most of the arrested Libyans and the foreign Christians appeared in recent days on video, giving detailed statements about how they accepted Jesus and people they met and know. These videos are published on the official webpage of the ISA (note: we will not link to the videos for security and dignity reasons
These videos portray Libya as being targeted by an outside conspiracy to undermine the Islamic nature of the Libyan society and state. This has incited a hate campaign against Christians in social media.
Libya ranks No. 5 on the 2023 World Watch List,
the annual list of the top 50 most dangerous countries in which to live in as a Christian. According to Open Doors research, Libya is effectively a lawless land where both native Christians and believers passing through from other countries face extreme violence. With no central government to maintain law and order, both militant Islamic extremist groups and organized crime groups wield power. They target and kidnap Christians, and some believers have been killed.
If a Libyan leaves Islam to follow Jesus, they are likely to face intense pressure and abuse from their family and the wider community to make them renounce their faith. They may even be killed. Christians who publicly express their faith and try to share the gospel with others are likely to face arrest or retribution from extremist groups.
Let’s pray for those believers in Libya who have been arrested and remain in detention. Ask that God will work to miraculously release them, and that the militia that arrested them will have their hearts softened to the hope of Christ.
Father, we ask you to be with our brothers and sisters who are under arrest in Libya. Be with them and help them to see your face—and your hope, even in the midst of terror and pain. We ask that you even change the hearts of the ISA, and that they would turn to you. Please, have mercy on your servants and let them be released to worship and live for you, and we ask that you would calm their fears and heal their broken hearts. In Jesus’ name, amen.