Peril of Egyptian Christians Living in Libya
On January 5th, thirteen Egyptian Christians kidnapped were released, 5 according to the Libya Herald and the BBC. A few days earlier, in December, another 7 Egyptian Members of an ethnic religious group from North Africa but primarily Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Christians were kidnapped; they are still missing.
According to BBC reports, the recent abduction took place at the hand of masked gunmen in northern Libya. One witness said that 15 masked gunmen went from room to room in the residential complex at about 2:30am on January 3rd. “They had a list of names of Christians in the building. While checking IDs, Muslims were left aside while Christians were grabbed,” Hanna Aziz told the AP news agency. The incident came just a few days after seven other Coptic Christians from Egypt were reportedly abducted at a fake checkpoint in Sirte as they tried to leave the city.
There was also, according to the BBC, an attack on the home of an Egyptian Coptic doctor in Sirte in early December, in which he and his wife were killed. Local reports said the couple’s 13-year-old daughter was also found dead after being abducted.
Libya is home to a very large community of both Muslim and Coptic Egyptians, with most working in the construction sector. The country has been plagued by instability and infighting since the toppling of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
A pastor in Libya asks Open Doors to pray for “all those who are Christians in the country, especially the Coptic Christians who have become immediate targets.” In 2014, more than a dozen Christians were killed in Libya.
Father, we come to You today with both rejoicing and sorrow. Thank You for the release of the thirteen men abducted earlier this month. We pray for Your hand of protection over them, and we pray for You to soothe the impact of this trauma on them, on their families, and on the Christian community in Libya. We pray that peace and stability will come to the nation of Libya and we pray especially for the Christian community there, both the handful of Libyan Christians and the thousands of Christians from outside the nation; that You will strengthen their faith and grant wisdom and courage in their daily lives. We think of the seven who remain in captivity; that You will protect and encourage them with Scripture that You bring to their minds. We pray for Your peace to surround them and for the light of Christ to shine through them to their abductors. We pray for countless hearts in Libya to turn in saving faith to Christ. In the name of Jesus, a present help in times of trouble, Amen.