Libya, North Africa
Political Leader: Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi
Religions: Islam 96.5%, Christianity 3%, Buddhism 0.3%, Other 0.2%
Persecution Ranking: No. 26
Number of Terrorist Groups: 13
Acts of Terrorism: 16; Casualties: 8
Percent of Corruption: 73%
% of People in Poverty: 7.4%
Libya, officially the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, is a country in North Africa. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Libya lies between Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. With an area of almost 700,000 square miles, 90% of which is desert, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa by area, and the 17th largest in the world. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, the Fezzan and Cyrenaica.
On May 15, 2006, the United States announced its intention to restore full diplomatic relations with Libya and to rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The U.S. formally rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism on June 30, 2006. Libya continued to cooperate closely with the United States and the international community on counterterrorism efforts.
Since pledging to renounce terrorism in 2003, Libya has endeavored to show its commitment to the U.S. war on terror. Libya cooperated with the United States to combat the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Al Qaeda affiliate dedicated to the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime. Libya also worked with the United States to curtail terrorist activities of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an Algeria-based Al Qaeda associate formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.
Libya is comprised of 96.5% Muslims and only 3% of the population are Christians. The country does not have a constitution, and there is no explicit legal provision for religious freedom.
Challenges for Christians:
Libya is ranked No. 26 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” Libya was completely transformed by the discovery of oil in 1959, and much of the wealth has been used to fund the spread of Islam abroad. Islam is the chosen religion of the state and it is illegal for Christians to share the Gospel.
Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi has made statements denigrating Christians and Jews and urged the practice of Islam. Echoing a statement in April 2006 that all persons are required to be Muslims, Qadhafi noted in a March 31, 2007 speech in Agadez, Niger, that “Christianity is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.” Speaking during an annual commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth, Qadhafi declared that those who do not practice Islam are “losers” and that it was a mistake for Christians to say Jesus was crucified. Following comments in April 2006 that Jews should conform to Islamic practices by making an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Qadhafi stated in a March 27, 2007 interview that “Jews will go extinct because everyone hates them.”
- Pray that Libya continue to cooperate closely with the United States and the international community on counterterrorism efforts.
- Pray for God to defeat the plans of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. Pray that the demonic forces that are using these terrorist groups like puppets will be toppled, and that the people will be set free to worship the Lord. Pray that their leaders will experience conversion to Christianity. (1 Timothy 2:1–4)
- Pray for the salvation of Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi and his top leaders.
- Open evangelism is totally impossible and there is a powerful network of secret police looking out for anyone who breaks the law. Pray for more openness to the Gospel, despite all these challenges.
- Pray for radio stations that broadcast Christian programs to Libya to have an impact in this closed country.
- There is no Bible in Libyan Arabic. Pray that the right people can begin to work on a translation.
- Pray that Al Qaeda in Iraq and affiliated terrorist organizations will be thrown into confusion, and will not be able to regroup, recruit, or have the capacity to be disruptive.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, The World Factbook