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Christians Attacked in Libya

Libya
Boys playing on a tank in Libya

Some Christian men from poor families in Egypt went to Libya to find jobs. (Libya is next to Egypt in Africa.) The men sent money they earned from their jobs back to their families in Egypt.

Ezzat Bishri Naseef, one of the men, was told by his Muslim boss, “You’re so clever. You’re a waste to Christianity. You should convert to Islam. I promise you prosperity and ownership of land.”

The offer for land of his own must have been tempting to Ezzat. But he refused to deny Jesus. He told his boss, “I would never give up my Lord even if I were killed by the sword.”

Months later, Muslim ISIS terrorists attacked a group of the Egyptian workers. Ezzat and 20 other Christians stood firm in their faith, and they lost their lives in the attack. Weeks later, some of their children still did not know about what happened to their fathers. Their mothers did not know how to tell them.

Even though the families of the men are very sad, they want to forgive the ISIS attackers. “[I would tell them] from all my heart, ‘May God forgive you and removed the scales off of your eyes and place you on the right path, the path of light,’” said the mother of one of the men. “Our Christ taught us love and peace and forgiveness. He didn’t teach us to take revenge. He didn’t teach us to curse if we’re cursed or kill if we’re killed.”

To Talk About

  • What did the mother say that Christ teaches his followers?
  • What did she say that Christ does not teach?
  • What did she mean when she said that she wanted God to “remove the scales” from the attackers’ eyes? (See Acts 9:1–18.)

Pray for the families of the Christian men. Ask God to comfort their parents, wives, and children.


Always Free in the Lord

Sherif's family
Sherif and family, with their eyes covered to protect their identity

An Egyptian Christian, Sherif Ramses, was the manager of a bookstore in Libya, where more than 95 percent of the people are Muslims. Sherif was arrested in February because he had some Arabic Christian books in his store. He allowed Arabic-speaking immigrants in Libya to read the books.

Sherif was in prison for more than two months. He was treated harshly while he was imprisoned.

But, praise God, Sherif was then freed, and he returned to his family.

“I am happy to see our brother Sherif released from prison, yet he is always free in the Lord (John 8:36),” said a Christian in the area.

Learn how to write letters to Christian prisoners who are not yet free at Prisoner Alert.


Hidden Countries

The Voice of the Martyrs helps Christians and monitors persecution in more than 50 countries. Find 10 of the countries hidden in the sentences below. Search for these countries: Libya, Oman, Iran, India, Mali, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Cuba, and Brunei.

Find out about more countries where VOM works here.

  1. Amy found a mouse in the bedroom and the kitchen.
  2. Kings and queens often live in fine palaces.
  3. A camel is a useful animal in the desert.
  4. The mother bear and her cub are hibernating.
  5. Members of the runners’ club run eight miles every day.
  6. People sometimes write prayers in diaries and journals.
  7. The family rode to the beach in a taxi.
  8. The taxi ran out of gas on the way to the beach.
  9. The campers ate chili by a campfire.
  10. The workers went to the drab hut and helped the owners paint it.

Country Search Answers

  1. Oman: Amy found a mouse in the bedroom and the kitchen.
  2. Nepal: Kings and queens often live in fine palaces.
  3. Mali: A camel is a useful animal in the desert.
  4. Cuba: The mother bear and her cub are hibernating.
  5. Brenei: Members of the runners’ club run eight miles every day.
  6. India: People sometimes write prayers in diaries and journals.
  7. China: The family rode to the beach in a taxi.
  8. Iran: The taxi ran out of gas on the way to the beach.
  9. Libya: The campers ate chili by a campfire.
  10. Bhutan: The workers went to the drab hut and helped the owners paint it.

U.S. State Department’s Religious Freedom Report

US DOS Logo

This week the U.S. Department of State released their 2011 International Religious Freedom Report. The report covers 199 countries and territories. Go to the report here and use the “Go to a Country Report” drop-down box to begin searching reports from specific countries. The reports tell what religions people in the country follow, what the laws of the country say about religious freedom, and whether or not there are abuses of religious freedom in that country.

See the “Countries” section on this site or the “Restricted Nations” section at Persecution.com for further information about selected countries.


Libya

Libya

Libya

RESTRICTED

Capital
Tripoli

Size
Slightly larger than Alaska.

Main Languages
Arabic

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 1:00 p.m. in Libya.

History
Many groups have controlled Libya over the centuries including Romans, Arabs, Italians, and British. Libya declared independence from Britain in 1951. An army officer named Muammar al-Qadhafi took over the government in 1969. In 2007, Qadhafi said, “Christianity is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.” He also said those who do not practice Islam are “losers.” Qadhafi died in 2011 after ruling for 42 years.
Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
Islam is the official religion of Libya. The government often does not investigate or respond to attacks on Christians or their property by radical Muslims.