Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Gaddafi stirs up Islamists against “Chri...

Email:

Gaddafi stirs up Islamists against “Christian” forces

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Gaddafi stirs up Islamists against “Christian” forces

Country/Region: Libya

Under fire dictator Muammar Gaddafi is portraying Western military intervention in Libya as a religious crusade in a bid to get “all Islamic armies” to defend him against the “Christian” West.

Colonel Gaddafi
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi

As coalition forces step up pressure on the colonel with sustained air strikes, he is using increasingly religious rhetoric to denounce the action and harness support for his regime. Gaddafi said at the weekend that he was defending Libya’s land and dignity against America, France and Britain, “the Christians that are in a pact against us”. On state television he promised a “long-drawn war” and claimed, “We have Allah with us, you have the devil on your side.”

Then, on Tuesday night, in his first public appearance since the coalition began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, Gaddafi said there was a “new crusader battle launched by crusader countries on Islam” and issued this rallying cry to supporters:

Long live Islam everywhere. All Islamic armies must take part in the battle, all free [people] must take part in the battle.

Consequences for Christians

The comments raise alarm for Libya’s small and vulnerable Christian community, who may become revenge targets of Gaddafi supporters’ anti-Western wrath. Christians in Muslim countries are generally associated with the West, which puts them in heightened danger at a time of Western military intervention. This has been the case in Iraq since the 1990-1 Gulf War, where Christians have been targeted in violent attacks and, as a result, hundreds of thousands have fled the country.  

The Church in Libya is composed almost entirely of expatriates, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa; many of them are likely to leave the country as the fighting intensifies. They have generally enjoyed the freedom to worship without harassment under Gaddafi, but evangelism among Muslims is strictly forbidden, and Libyan converts from Islam to Christianity are often vulnerable and isolated. Fear of government infiltrators discourages them from meeting together, and those who make contact with foreigners put themselves at further risk – a danger that will only be exacerbated in light of the hostility to foreign military intervention in Libya.

Invoking Islamists

Gaddafi’s comments seem intent on provoking an Islamist response to the Western intervention in Libya, both within the country and from outside. During his years in power the colonel has clamped down hard on militant Islamism, but he has now threatened to join forces with al-Qaeda. He said, “If they [the West] behave with us as they did in Iraq, then Libya will leave the international alliance against terrorism. We will then ally ourselves with al-Qaeda and declare a holy war.”  

This danger comes at a time of growing Islamist influence in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, following the revolutions that ousted their respective dictators. Exiled Islamist leaders have returned to these countries to great popular acclaim, while Islamist parties are preparing to stand in forthcoming elections.

Gaddafi has long aspired to spread Islam throughout Africa, with dreams of a single Muslim government for the continent or a United Islamic States of Africa. And though the version of Islam exported by Libya has not been extreme, he now appears to be appealing to more radical elements in a bid to harness support against Western opposition to his regime.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Gaddafi stirs up Islamists against “Christian” forces

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Praise God for the continued Christian presence in northern Mali, despite the apparent desire of jihadists to wipe it out. Most of the Christians who had fled the region when Islamist radicals took control in 2012 have now returned to their homes, after French troops ousted the Islamists. Many church buildings were desecrated, looted or severely damaged, but the Christians are determined to resume their ministries. Pray for their protection. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

    • Continue to pray for church leaders in Christian-majority Burundi that they may have wisdom in responding to the unfamiliar situation of political restriction by their own government. A new law passed in August requires each church to have at least 500 members and a proper building; congregations were given a year to comply. Pray that religious liberty will be maintained in Burundi, both for Christians and for the small minorities who follow other religions. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Dec 2014 00:00

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to you for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Shani, in Borno state, until their town was raided by Boko Haram on 29 November. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Dec 2014 00:00

    • “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also,” said the Lord Jesus. (John 15:20). Let us not forget our brothers and sisters who suffer daily because of their faithfulness to Christ and help them with our prayers (Philippians 1:19). Pray that they may take comfort in the words of the Lord Jesus, knowing that He understands what they are enduring for His Name. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Dec 2014 00:00

    • The substantial Armenian Christian population of Syria are mostly descendants of Armenians who fled to Syria to escape from the Armenian Genocide, which peaked in 1915. The attacks of Islamist groups in Syria, which they now face, seem to them like another genocide. But praise God for their courage and determination. When the mainly Armenian town of Kessab and its surrounding villages were attacked the inhabitants fled for safety to Latakia. After the Syrian army had liberated Kessab, the Armenian families began to return to their homes, even though there was no electricity or water and they had to go back to Latakia every night to sleep. Elsewhere, when the situation in Homs stabilised, an Armenian congregation wanted to repair their church building first, but their church leader urged them to focus on making their homes habitable again. Pray that they may remain strong in the Lord. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Dec 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks