Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Mass Arrest and Torture of Christians in Libya

March 6, 2013 1:22 am 1 comment

Coptic Christian Church, the St. Bishoy Monastery, located between Cairo and Alexandria. More than 8 million Coptic Christians live in Egypt. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Last week’s news of four Christian missionaries in Libya placed under arrest, possibly facing the death penalty for “proselytizing,” is apparently the tip of the iceberg. Yesterday, Arabic media reported that over 100 Christian Copts from Egypt, who appear to have been living and working in Libya, were recently arrested in Ben Ghazi—also on the accusation, or pretext, of being “Christian missionaries.”

One video made by the Libyan militia interrogators—most of whom look like Islamic Salafis, with long beards and clipped mustaches—appeared on the Internet yesterday. It shows a room full of detained Copts. They sit hunched over on the floor—with all their hair shaven off, looking like dejected, or doomed, concentration camp prisoners. According to one source, many of these Copts have been tortured. Some have had the famous Coptic cross often tattooed on the wrists of Copts burned off with acid.

Next, the camera-man zooms in on the material which got them in this predicament: atop a table, several Bibles, prayer books, and pictures of Jesus, Mary and other saints appear spread out. The Libyan interrogators complain about how these Christians could dare bring such material into Libya, and that they, their abductors, are sure that the Copts were going to use such Christian materials to proselytize Libya, to sporadic ejaculations of “Allah Akbar!” from across the room.

What is going on in Libya? Do these reports—first of four foreign Christian missionaries, including one American, now of more than 100 Christians from neighboring Egypt—indicate that Christian missionaries recently decided to flood Libya in droves? Or are these ongoing reports an indication that post-Gaddafi Libya is simply becoming increasingly intolerant of any Christian presence?

Concerning the four foreign missionaries whom the Western media picked up on earlier, it is difficult to say who they are and what they were doing, since they basically have been swallowed up by the Ben Ghazi prisons; their names and identities have not even been revealed. As for the 100 Egyptian Copts, it is hard to believe they were proselytizing. Christians in Egypt dare not proselytize to their fellow Muslim citizens, who speak the same dialect and share the same Egyptian culture. It is a dangerous thing to do. Is it reasonable, then, to believe that some 100 Copts decided to proselytize to Muslims in Libya—where it is common knowledge that the Obama-supported jihadis reign?

Even the Coptic Church in Egypt made statements to this effect. According to Coptic Bishop Pachomios, “This is a very serious incident, in which Egyptian citizens were arrested on the mere suspicion [of proselytizing] and tortured while in detention.” The bishop confirmed that these imprisoned Egyptian Christians were working in Libya, adding that “it doesn’t make sense that as many as 100 Egyptian Copts had decided to engage in proselytizing activities in another country.” After all, they can simply proselytize in their own country. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Cairo-based Egyptian Union for Human Rights, also “expressed his dismay over the reports. He, too, voiced doubt that the Egyptians in question had been proselytizing in Libya,” while correctly pointing out that, “Even if this were proven to be the case, they should not have been detained because of it.”

Moreover, a recent Christian Post article points out the inconsistencies in official statements from Libya, including how the number of Christian material being found on these alleged missionaries keeps inflating. For instance, one Christian arrested under the accusation of having 30,000 Bibles in his possession, was later described by police as having 45,000 Bibles.

It is becoming clear that these arrests are increasingly less about actual Christian evangelism to Muslims, and more about Muslim hostility to Christians. When the Western media reported about the four foreign missionaries, they made it a point to state that the anti-proselytism law comes from the Gaddafi era. Yet, under Gaddafi, one did not hear of such back-to-back arrests of alleged missionaries—just as one did not hear of attacks on Christian churches in Libya, such as the one that took place only two months ago, leaving two Christians dead.

Here, then, is yet another indicator of the true nature of the “Arab Spring” and the Obama administration’s wholesale support of it—hate and hostility for Christians.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. This article was originally published by Front Page Magazine.

1 Comment

  • I wish this persecution by Muslims would make the Copts (and Maronites) more sympathetic to Israel.

    But it ain’t happening. It seems as though to please their torturers, they become even more anti-Israel.

    If Mr. Ibrahim thinks otherwise (maybe they have told him in private, but are afraid to speak up publicly), he should let us know.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports US & Canada Tom Brady: Best Part of My Summer Was Watching Julian Edelman Lather Himself in Mud at Dead Sea in Israel

    Tom Brady: Best Part of My Summer Was Watching Julian Edelman Lather Himself in Mud at Dead Sea in Israel

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may have been bogged down this offseason over the NFL’s “Deflategate” scandal, but he found unusual recourse in images of teammate Julian Edelman lathering his body with potent Dead Sea mud in Israel. Indeed, as Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski became the latest celebrity voice to offer directions on the Israeli-developed navigational app Waze, and wide receiver Matthew Slater happily got married, Brady has been facing legal issues after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed a four-game suspension for Brady as part of a ball-deflating scandal […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →