Vendor of Bookshop Arrested and Abused in Libya

February 27, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Vendor of Bookshop Arrested  and Abused in Libya

Following the arrest of several foreign workers in Libya, we seek your prayers.

The plight of Sherif is of particularly grave concern. Since his arrest on Sunday, February 10, he has not been released from police custody though no official charge has been made against him and he has yet to appear in court. During his detainment, he has reportedly been physically abused. In the bookshop Sherif is running in eastern Libya, Christian books are sold for Arab-speaking expatriate workers living in Libya. Local sources informed Open Doors that the authorities displayed materials confiscated from Sharif’s bookstore on national television as if a drug cartel had been rounded up.

Among other recent arrests, there were several Egyptians and three non-Arab workers who, according to Libyan police, were arrested on suspicion of proselytizing; they too have yet to be formally charged.

On Feb. 17, Libyans celebrated the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. During Gaddafi’s reign, the government and its secret services were the primary source of persecution. The situation for Christians was extremely harsh and foreign workers often faced opposition. Today, persecution comes from the family, community and fanatical armed groups, and it is still forbidden to import Arabic Scriptures or to evangelize. In the absence of a central government to enforce the rule of law, Islamist extremist movements like the Salafists are free to perpetrate violence against believers. The continued civil unrest has prompted 75 percent of expat Christians to flee the country.

Father, we lift before You our fellow believers in Libya who have been arrested for their work on behalf of Your church. We pray Your protection over them while they are being held in prison, especially for Sherif as he has been physically abused. And we pray for their release soon. We thank You for Sherif’s bookstore, and the resources it provides for expatriates working in Libya, and we pray that workers who remain in freedom will be empowered to continue the work. As families and friends work with the authorities to obtain release of the prisoners, we pray Your Spirit’s wisdom and direction. For all of Your people in Libya, we pray that Your presence would be very near, that You would comfort them and give them the peace and joy that can only come from Your Spirit. In the name of Jesus, who watches over His church with power and might, Amen.

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