Death for Preaching Christ in ‘Liberated’ Libya

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 


Four foreign Christians—including one who holds American-Swedish citizenship—were arrested days ago in Libya.  According to the Guardian, their crime is arousing “suspicion of being missionaries and distributing Christian literature, a charge that could carry the death penalty.”

Apparently the four Christians had “contracted a local printer to produce pamphlets explaining Christianity.”  Proselytizing to Muslims—that is, preaching to them another religion—was banned even under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyans—strongly supported by U.S. President Obama in the name of “freedom”—got rid of Gaddafi but kept the distinctly anti-freedom law.

Discussing this case, Libyan security official Hussein Bin Hmeid, trying to justify the Islamic ban on free speech, observes: “Proselytizing is forbidden in Libya. We are a 100% Muslim country and this kind of action affects our national security.” Indeed, Muslim governments—most notably Iran’s—constantly suppress any talk of Christianity, claiming it threatens “our national security.” Such is the tribal mentality of Islam which everywhere declares: If you’re not one of us, you must be an enemy trying to subvert our way of life.

Is the flipside of this prevalent mentality also true—that if Muslims are not one of us, they must be trying to subvert our way of life?

Nor should the arrested Christians expect much sympathy from more “moderate” Libyans.  According to Benghazi lawyer and “human rights activist” Bilal Bettamer, Christians should not offend Muslims by trying to share their faith: “It is disrespectful. If we had Christianity we could have dialogue, but you can’t just spread Christianity.  The maximum penalty is the death penalty. It’s a dangerous thing to do.”

Indeed, like “blasphemy”—whether in the guise of Muhammad cartoons or movies—proselytizing to Muslims is one of the many forms of free speech to be specifically banned by Islamic Sharia.  According to Muslim tradition, this ban goes back to the second “righteous” caliph, the 7th century Omar.  After conquering a group of Christians, he stipulated any number of humiliating conditions for them to live by, including:

Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims….

Not to display any signs of polytheism, nor make our religion appealing, nor call or proselytize anyone to it.

As Muslims continue turning to Islam—all to Western praise and encouragement—expect the things of Islam to continue returning in big ways.

The Guardian report adds: “Libya, a conservative Muslim country, has no known Christian minority, and churches, the preserve of foreign residents, have seen few of the attacks seen in Egypt and Tunisia, where there have been church burnings.”

The Guardian reporter may have wanted to point out that, less than two months ago, on Sunday, December 30, an explosion rocked a Coptic Christian church near the western city of Misrata, in the very place where U.S. backed rebels hold a major checkpoint. The explosion killed two people and wounded two others.

And even though it is true that there are few church attacks in Libya, that is simply because there are few churches to attack in the first place—not because of some Libyan “tolerance” to churches.  After all, one never hears of church attacks in Saudi Arabia. Yet that is not because Saudis are “tolerant,” but rather because they have nipped the church problem in the bud by not allowing a single church to exist on Saudi soil.  Hence, no churches for Muslim mobs to attack, bomb or burn.  Conversely, where there is a large Christian population, such as in Nigeria, which is roughly half Christian, Muslims are bombing churches on practically a weekly  basis.

Finally, there is the rewriting of history that is foisted by Muslims everywhere, not to mention ignorant Westerners, as exemplified in this report.  All of those quoted—including the writer—seem to think that Libya was born a Muslim country.  Hence, in the words of Libyan “human rights” activist Bilal Bettamer, “you can’t just spread Christianity.”

What, then, do we do with real history?  The fact is, although Libya is today practically entirely Muslim, it certainly wasn’t always so. In fact, before the 7th century Islamic invasions, Libya was predominantly Christian.  The fact that Libya’s immediate neighbors to the west and east, Algeria and Egypt, were backbones of early Christianity—giving the world giants of theology like St. Augustine and St. Athanasius, to name but a few—certainly suggests that Libya was mostly a Christian nation, excluding some Berber tribes.

Yet Islam came and killed and converted them all to itself.  And now, to keep them in line, it will kill any who try to proclaim a different message, especially the message of their conquered forefathers.

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  • F.K. Juliano

    Everyone knew the “Arab Spring” would come to this—everyone, that is, except every official in the Obama administration and every single individual employed by the mainstream media.

    • JacksonPearson

      Obama is smarter than he looks….he knows all about Islam, because he's really a closet Muslim. The Arab Spring was, and still is about reestablishing a Middle East Caliphate. Obama was never given Congressional authorization, under the "War Powers Act" to use our military in Libya.

      • Guest

        If he is a Muslim, then he's just as phoney as the Christian he professes to be. Take gay marriage for example. No Muslim would go around advocating it, let alone try and pass laws making it legal. Obama has his past so securely locked up, it's impossible for anyone to know who he really is or what he believes. But he doesn't care, and the press is there to cover for him every step of the way.

        • JacksonPearson

          Mooschele vacationed in Colorado, while Baracky went to Florida with his pal Reggie Love with a disconnected and angry press in tow. You can figure from there.

          He's already stated his position on Islam, and his prophet Muhammad. So yes IMO, he's a gay Muslim!

        • F.K. Juliano

          There is a very blurry line between being a serious Islamophile and being an actual Muslim. Which side of that line is Obama on? It's hard to say and it ultimately doesn't matter. What we know for sure is that he's an enemy of Western civilization and of basic human decency, in other words, a leftist.

  • aligzanduh

    I wouldn't be so hard on Islam. It was a more tolerant civilization than Christendom up until recently. Religious fanatics can be found in all groups. If a christian wants to kill for his religion, all he has to do is join the US armed forces. Muslims have no such option and join terrorist organizations. Our terrorism is run by our federal government. Still it is hard to understand such a hard line attitude against proselytizing. Read about David Petraeus' concept of the Christian crusade.

    • john

      IGNORANT — OR > YOU KNOW BETTER = SO YOUR A LIAR .

    • Baily

      That was then this is now. In 2013, the West has lost its fanatic religious character (its a fringe sentiment now), and the Islamic world is using oppression, violence and religious fanaticism to expand its rejectionist ideology. Its not that we find it hard to understand the Islamic attitude towards non-Muslims, its that basic human rights take precedent over the Islamic propensity to kill in the name of religion.

      Take your taqiya somewhere else.

    • Drakken

      What you muslims fail to understand and realize is, sooner or later and I'm betting on the sooner, a Crusades on steroids is in the making, and soon no one will care how moderate of a muslim you are, because no one will care.

    • Mary Sue

      Um, the US armed forces does not do the whole "killing for your religion" thing.

    • NoIslam

      Christendom was never as intolerant as muslim nations, only maybe in some leftist and muslim books! Even at the time of the crusades (who were justified) many muslims rather lived under crusader rulers than muslim rulers! Muslim nations (and true muslims) were always barbaric since mohamed the pedophile created his demonic ideology!

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com adinakutnicki

    Death, cannibalism and everything in between is acceptable towards infidels, and no one dare argue otherwise. This is what Sharia Law is all about http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/06/islam-barbari

    An Islamic reformation cannot come soon enough – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/12/calling-for-a

    Adina Kutnicki Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • JacksonPearson

      And can you believe, that Muslim hate groups, want to make criticizing sharia law, or Islam a hate crime…I say to them, BS! I'll mock their false prophet every chance i get!

  • antisharia

    This is no shock. Watch Egypt more closely, it has a much larger Christian population than Libya and the government in Cairo wants them dead or gone.

  • Western Spirit

    Islam and Christianity are products of duality where if there is one thing there is its opposite. Christianity teaches a God of love that guarantees freedom while Islam teaches the opposite, a totalitarian God who exacts total control over his subjects.

    And so the age old battle of opposites, between good and evil, rages on and like nearly everything else in the world today evil seems to be winning. We can only have faith that good will finally triumph even if it means through divine intervention. Which I think will happen, man is far too gullible to recognize what amounts to his own good, much less the good in everything else.

    • Magy

      Truly different, because one teaches "love your enemy" while the other teaches "kill your enemy".

      • JoJoJams

        And one teaches that God sent his son (himself, per christian doctrine) to die for you, the belief in which gets you "eteranl life", and the other says send your sons to die for god (jihad) as the only sure way for eternal life. I know which doctrine sounds more humane to me….

  • http://twitter.com/EdF1958 @EdF1958

    Christians need to leave non-believers ALONE! LET GOD DEAL WITH THEM!

    • Drakken

      Ed, it is not the christians that will kill you, but the muslims will, see the difference now?

    • Mary Sue

      LEAVE BRITNEY SPEARS ALOOOOONE!

      • JacksonPearson

        And Michael Jackson's pedophilia tooooo!

  • κατεργάζομαι

    The Muslims have a saying:
    ~ "First [destroy] the Saturday People (Jews)… then the Sunday People (Christians)."

    Libya is burning their candle at both ends.

    What the Bible tells us about Fellowship with Muslims – - 2 Corinthians 6:14 .
    " Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
    "For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
    "Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

    ~ NIV
    - – - – -

    GOD says regarding Jews:
    : "Those Who Bless Her (Israel) Will Be Blessed, And Those Who Curse Her Will Be Cursed " (Genesis 12:2-3)

    amen.

    • JacksonPearson

      Amen

  • Consider

    The author could better start his article with the detailed examples of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven as proof how the death penalty is ‘salutary’ to society.

    Had this barbaric practice been in force in Britain at the time, eleven innocents would be hanged.
    But why complain? Obviously, in the view of the author (and the general mindset of this website) it is better to kill a hundred of innocents than one culprit let go.

    By the way, there was a nice custom in Afghanistan, where the relatives of the victim would cut the throat of the supposed offender, publicly, in the city stadium.
    Maybe this practice should be introduced in the US for the benefit of all.
    Or at least in Texas.

    “Les extrêmes ce touchent”

  • Consider

    The above post of mine should have gone to another topic (where it landed eventually).

    Regarding this one, well, why complain?

    As we learn from these pages (from distinguished theoreticians), religion is the depository of morality, it builds our character and performs many a useful function in personal and social life.
    Therefore if the religion of the Libyans dictates that other religions have nothing to look for in Libya, so be it.
    As we also learn from this website, the state and the church are nor separated (and they should not be; it’s a myth perpetuated by the "left").

    Looking from this perspective, why not let the Libyans have it their way.

    • JoJoJams

      Considered. And tossed out as the neo-modern rubbish that it is. I have too many Coptic friends with family in Egypt, some who have been killed – to put up with this inane and childish mamby pamby b.s. you're spouting.

  • Nancy

    It's sad our U.S. troops were used to get involved in this country. There was no good guy, or guys to win the battle. They replaced a dictator with terrorists, there were no freedom fighters involved. It doesn't appear there is any freedom under Islamic law. Freedom of speech, or freedom of the press, freedom of religion they don't exist under Islam.
    I will pray for these men that they might be released. I hope someone from our government will speak up for them, but I don't have much confidence in them.

  • Edward Cline

    Frankly, I think Christians who venture into overwhelmingly Muslim countries to preach their faith are foolhardy. They must have some kind of death wish, or perhaps a penchant for martyrdom. Were these four "missionaries" ignorant of what the Koran commands be done with them? And, who informed on them? The printer? You can't apply the ideas of "freedom of speech" or a "church-state separation" in these circumstances. Did they expect they could also walk into a cave full of rattlesnakes and not be bitten? I have no sympathy for these people, regardless of their nationalities. It isn't even though they were apostates and consequently had risked the death sentence on those grounds. There's a difference between bravery and reckless disregard for the facts, and these four individuals must have known what the consequences were likely to be, once it was known that they intended to proselytize their faith.

  • Cindy

    Christians were commanded by Christ to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature , he that believes and id baptized shall be saved but he that dies not believe is damned. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who so ever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Everyone has the right to choose, for God said choose this day who you will serve, life or death blessing or cursing, If we choose Christ as Savior and Lord we are blessed with faithful Abraham.
    I know many Muslims who have share what they believe with me as a Christian it does not make me want to kill them, Murders shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But id a man commits murder yet confesses his sins to God and turns from his sins he shall be forgive by God, perhaps not by man but by God.

  • Cindy

    excuse me for not proof reading before commenting. God's word says who so ever believes and is baptized shall be saved but he that does not believe is damned
    but if a man commits murder, yet confesses his sins to God and turns from his sins he shall be forgiven by God, perhaps not by man but by God. And If we all do not forgive everyone there sins neither will God forgive us ours

  • InLibya

    Get The Facts Straight Raymond!

    I work in Libya at the moment as an Analyst, while conducting research I found this site and was so bothered by Raymond Ibrahim's article that I had to comment. I have to shake my head at the writer/journalist who wrote this garbage. Check your facts before writting and publishing…..
    1. The 4 individuals that were arrested were out on the street trying to pass out bibles and recruit people, information on a "local printer" is not correct. 2. Raymond Ibrahim speaks about the attack on a Coptic church leading the reader to believe that sectarian violence has started in the country….This is not the case, the incident that took place was between members of the church, one of the Egyptians working at the church was let go and came back to "settle the score". Mr Ibrahim has a responsibility to the readers to ensure that the informaion he is presenting is valid, sorced and correct, if he wants to write such garbage, I am sure he could find employment at TMZ or the Star. Shame on you Raymond.

  • pierremontagne

    The EU since the problems in Syria commenced had prohibited any small arms exportation to Syria by EU member states or by nations respecting EU actions
    So what was a supporting nation like America supposed to do? How do you to get aid to the Syrian Islamist/Rebels inspired by US indifference in Libya?
    Solution
    Let the Syrian rebels pick what they want for stockpiles in Behghazi
    Problem
    US Ambassador goes to Benghazi to determine if rumors of State department connivance to enable Syrian based Al Qaeda Rebels being given Libyan arms is true.

    Solution:

    Allow Ambassador and aides to die as heroes attacked by Islamist enemies in a disorganized state

    Result

    State department avoids exposure of conflict of interest – fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Yemen while aiding Al Qaeda in Syria.
    Who's to know except a few pundits?

    As for Christian persecution in Libya (or anywhere else) – the Secular State Department of the United States takes the view that religious persecution of Christians is unimportant and merely a violation of Domestic Law in the country concerned.
    State does not involve itself in religious affairs of Islam. It only involves itself in the political affairs of Islam and therefore wants only to be seen as supportive.