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Report on Religious Freedom in Libya

2018 Report on International Freedom of Faith


The Interim Constitution states that Islam is a state religion and a Sharia, an important supply of legislation. It acknowledges the liberty of non-Muslims to follow their religion and prohibit discrimination based mostly on religion. Non-Muslims have been restricted in statutory languages ​​to disseminate or publish info aimed toward changing the "social structure" of Libya used to ban non-Islamic spiritual supplies, missionary, or "attacking Muslims". “Human rights activists said that the freedom of conscience of Christian translators, atheists and Sunni Muslims, who deviated from Islamic salafist interpretations, was not practiced in practice, especially in areas under the control of the Salafist groups. The internationally recognized Government of Government (GNA) remained in office, but it did not control large parts of the country, including the South and East. GNA relied on armed groups to secure and manage some immigrant and refugee detention centers in a country where several international human rights organizations told Christians that they were at risk of physical assault, including sexual violence and rape, as other immigrants and refugees. In the West, Tripoli-based Rada Special Deterrence Force (SDF), an internal Salafist Armed Group integrated with GNA by GNA, took part in several arrests and arrests that it accused of Islamic crime. Some prisoners reported that they were tortured and abused. In February, SDF arrested a woman she accused of engaging in spells. According to the International Refugee Report, a Christian woman in Ethiopia said she and other Christians hid their cross from the police in the detention center where they were held, ”because the Libyan police who labored in this place didn’t respect Christians. The identical report, a 26-year-old Christian refugee held at a detention middle in the center of Tripoli, stated the guards had better remedy of immigrants who have been the bulk Muslim Morocco than others. Home human rights activists proceed to report on a restrictive setting, including efforts to stop ladies from touring alone outdoors the nation. In fact, in Tripoli, some GNA militias imposed restrictions on ladies's clothes and mobility and punished men for the conduct they thought-about Islamic. The draft constitutional draft of the Libyan Constitutional Conference in 2017, which has not yet been adopted by the House of Representatives and the referendum, forbids using non-Muslims in giant state businesses.

an unrecognized public administration with the safety of the "Libyan National Army" (LNA) and LNA-aligned salafist armed groups. Non-state actors and militias continued to function and control the world all through the country, together with Benghazi, elements of Tripoli and Dernas, where there have been quite a few studies of armed teams proscribing spiritual practices, monitoring Sharia compliance as interpreted and concentrating on what was thought-about. requirements. In accordance with the Open Doors USA Christian Protection Group, Islamic militant groups and arranged crime groups targeted spiritual minorities, together with Christian immigrants, turned to Christianity, and overseas residents for bodily attacks, sexual violence, arrest, abduction and killing. Salafist and Islamist teams which are in line with GNA and an unrecognized authorities in the East took regulation enforcement activities. The US-designated overseas terrorist organizations, including Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaida Maghreb (AQIM) and ISIS, continued their activities in the country. Human Rights Watch introduced that on January 23, an unidentified armed group or blasted two automotive bombs in Benghazi at Baya & al-Radwan Mosque when worshiped after evening prayers and killed no less than 34 men, together with three youngsters, and wounded over 90 more. In December, the Reuters information agency informed the native authorities that that they had been exasperated by a mass grave close to Sirte 34, an Ethiopian Christian physique that ISIS carried out in 2015.

In response to worldwide media, former Muslims have been pressured to desert their beliefs in returning to Islam. The sources that have been advised that conversion to different religions, as well as atheists and agnostics, have been threatened by violence or dismissal because of their beliefs. In line with Benghazi atheist, he had to publicly affirm his belief in Islam (which was in conflict together with his personal beliefs) because his work was a menace to his colleagues and militant teams in Salafist.

The US Embassy in Libya continued to work in Tunis, Tunisia. The US government continued to boost the difficulty of spiritual freedom in discussions with GNA, NGOs and different interlocutors. US officers raised these points when confronted with violent extremist groups resembling ISIS and condemned the acts of bodily abuse of spiritual minorities in custody; destruction of spiritual property; and calling for an finish to discrimination in the curriculum for spiritual schooling, particularly in the case of discrimination towards spiritual minorities.

Part I. Religious demography

The US government estimates the full population to be 6.7 million (July 2018). In response to stories from the Worldwide Organization for Migration, 12% of the inhabitants (about 804,000 individuals) are immigrants. The Sunni Muslims characterize 97 % of the population, and the remaining three % embrace Ibad's Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Baha'i, Ahmad's Muslims and Buddhists. Many members of the Amazigh ethnic minority are Muslim Muslims in Ibad. In 2017, Human Rights Watch studies that the Libbyn Tamazight Congress, which represents the Amazigh group, represents 4.5 to six % of the inhabitants of the Ibad Muslims. Virtually all non-Muslim residents dwelling in the nation are foreigners.

The estimate of the variety of Christians in the nation varies. Open Doorways USA's 2019 World Watch Listing Country (overlaying 2018) exhibits 37,900 Christians. In 2015, Open Doorways in the USA assessed 150 to 180 of these Libyan residents who turned to Islam.

Overseas Christian communities consist virtually solely of sub-Saharan African immigrants and Filipino overseas staff. with other foreigners. In response to Christian groups, most Egyptian Christians in Tripoli are Copts. Most sub-Saharan African and Filipino immigrants are Catholics, and the Catholic Diocese of Tripoli estimates that its followers are 5,000 south of the Sahara and 3,000 Filipinos. Estimates of the number of other Christian teams range. In response to Open Doorways USA, these are: Anglicans, Greek and Russian Orthodox and non-communist Christians.

In line with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Middle, there are not any everlasting Jews in the nation.

Part II. Standing of Respect for Authorities Freedom of Faith


The 2011 Constitutional Declaration is used as a short lived structure. It states that Islam is a state religion and Sharia is an important supply of legislation, nevertheless it provides Christians and Jews the liberty to follow their faith and guarantees the state's respect for their private standing. Christian and Jewish household spiritual issues, reminiscent of divorce and inheritance, are ruled by the mandates of the spiritual group to which the individual belongs. The Interim Constitution also states that "the Libyan people shall not be discriminated against on the basis of religion or sect" for authorized, political and civil rights. Nevertheless, different spiritual minority communities, reminiscent of Christians and Jews, are usually not given equal rights beneath the regulation. GNA will stay sure by the Constitutional Declaration until the House of Representatives approves the brand new Structure and holds a referendum. Laws of spiritual apply are earlier than inner battle and create a nationwide legal framework for spiritual freedom.

There isn’t any regulation in line with which people have the suitable to choose or change their faith or to review, talk about or publicize their spiritual beliefs. There isn’t any civil regulation explicitly prohibiting the transition or denial of Islam from one religion to another; nevertheless, the Penal Code successfully prohibits missionary work or conversion. It consists of bans that oppose "division" and offend Islam or Prophet Muhammad. The Felony Code prohibits the dissemination of publications designed to "modify the fundamental principles of the Constitution or the basic rules of the social structure" that are used as criminals for the dissemination of non-Islamic spiritual materials.

GNA and East each have the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs (MEIA). The MEIA manages the mosques, supervises the clergymen, and is primarily answerable for making certain that each one spiritual practices conform to state-accepted Islamic requirements. Religious educating in Islam is needed in private and non-private faculties. Participation in spiritual schooling is obligatory for all college students who don’t have opt-out laws.

Sharia manages Muslim household affairs, together with inheritance, divorce and the proper to own property. In accordance with Sharia, a Christian or Jewish lady who married a Muslim does not have to show to Islam; non-Muslim man, nevertheless, must flip to Islam to marry a Muslim lady. The Abraham Religions between Muslims and Ladies are illegal underneath Sharia, and such marriages usually are not acknowledged even if they have been made overseas. MEIA manages non-Islamic household regulation points, although there isn’t any separate legal framework that doesn’t apply to Muslim family regulation. The ministry makes use of household regulation in neighboring nations for non-Muslims.

Country is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


As a result of religion, politics, safety and security are sometimes intently linked to the country, it was troublesome to categorise many instances solely as spiritual identities.

The internationally acknowledged GNA remained in workplace however did not control giant elements of the nation, together with

The United Nations Improvement Program reviews on the functioning of the justice system, albeit at totally different levels depending on the situation of the courts in the country. Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch stated that key institutions, in specific regulation enforcement and the judiciary, have been disrupted or had ceased to function in most elements of the nation. The United Nations Help Office in Libya (UNSMIL) reported that the courts in the GNA-administered areas proceed to prosecute physical punishment, in accordance with its Sharia interpretation, together with the kidnapping of adultery and amputations of theft; Nevertheless, in response to UNSMIL, the federal government did not routinely execute these penalties.

In response to worldwide NGOs working in the nation, totally different teams – revolutionary brigades, tribal militia and native forces – offered security in the region and its surroundings. courts. GNA included a number of of those armed groups in the Ministry of the Interior, however the observers stated that the control of GNA in these teams remained restricted. Christian teams in this nation recognized SDF amongst Islamic groups who’ve been concerned in harassing Christians. GNA's response to violence towards members of minority groups was limited to condemning violence. For instance, in September, GNA condemned collisions between armed teams in Tripoli, causing hundreds of non-Libyan immigrants to be excluded from the capital.

SDF, a formally anti-terrorism pressure, additionally participated in different activities, together with the control of ethical and non secular affairs. Based on human rights activists, SDF continued to be involved in several arrests and arrests that he accused of violating Islamic regulation. The detainees reported torture and abuse in the arms of the SDF, holding them in official and out-of-court detention facilities. Christian groups referred to an instance of a Coptic Christian man who stated that in 2017, SDF arrested him at a prison in Mitigan Airport in Tripoli for two weeks. The man stated he was coated twice a day during his arrest.

In response to the media, on 22 February, SDF arrested a Moroccan lady, Ghizlane Soukanen, in Tripoli for prosecution of expertise and magic. The state of affairs was not up to date at the end of the yr

In accordance with the Libyan National Human Rights Committee, in October, after a speech by the Committee, Kirlus Hani Abdulmalik, a Egyptian Coptic resident, was launched in captivity at SDF-led Mitiga Airport jail. After December 2016, the pharmacist Abdulmalik was arrested free of charge, because the SDF forces believed that Abdulmalik was illegal to follow drugs and supply remedy to Libya because he was a non-Muslim.

26. February, Abdulaziz al-Siawin, a Libyan Muslim brother-in-law member of the Shura Council, specifically arrested terrorist activities in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in response to them. Government policies of the Muslim Brotherhood. Earlier in February, a hidden video was released on the December 2017 sermon of al-Siaw, delivered to the Al-Sheikh Mohammad Mosque in Misra, the place he stated: "I want to say [clearly] that I want to demand terrorism." On March 2, members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, together with their mother and father and members of the Shura Council, led by Ibrahim bin Ghashir, in the yard of the Sheikh Amhamed Mosque demonstrated GNA's determination to ban al-Siaw's crew. give sermons. Subsequently, the authorities launched al-Siawin

GNA relied on armed groups to secure and handle some immigrant and refugee detention centers in a country the place several international human rights organizations reported that Christians have been extra vulnerable to physical attack, including sexual violence and rape, than different immigrants and refugees. Based on an International Refugee Report revealed in April, a 23-year-old Ethiopian Christian lady, recognized as Sarah, stated she and other Christians hid their crosses from the police in a detention middle the place the Libyan police worked there and didn’t recognize Christians. “In the identical report, a 26-year-old Christian refugee from South Sudan was recognized as a David held in a detention middle in the middle of Tripoli. Morocco as Others

In September, seven Christian immigrants, who have been returned to Nigeria on August 30 with 173 others, informed the Black Christian Information Network that that they had been arrested in Osama Jail in Zawiya. One of the males stated the guards hung him over the chains overnight and left him lifeless. In the morning they took their our bodies to a low tomb in the woods, however when he found himself alive, he brought him again to prison and put him in a solitary prison. The authorities returned the lads to Nigeria after the absence of the Worldwide Organization for Immigration

The government gave spiritual researchers the opportunity to type organizations, to provide fats and to offer recommendation to their followers. Fat had no authorized significance, nevertheless it conveyed considerable social strain, in response to Libyan tribes and non secular leaders. Nevertheless, GNA didn’t have efficient administrative control over mosquitoes and parish management outdoors the restricted areas underneath its control

Based on civil society contacts in Tripoli, ladies's rights activists and civil rights NGO officers, some militias, such because the GNA-associated SDF and Nawasi brigade, imposed restrictions on ladies's dressing and mobility and punished males for the conduct they thought-about "un-Islamic". Nevertheless, there are not any laws that impose restrictions on dressing.

In August, the Ministry of Schooling issued a decree stopping admission to particular spiritual faculties, including the spiritual academy in Tajoura. In the course of the interruption, the ministry reviewed the curriculum of those faculties to ensure that its interpretation of the Qur'an and the Islamic hadith didn’t include any hostile or igniting language for other religions. The former Grand Mufti of Libya's Al-Sadiq Abdulrahman al-Ghiryan and Salafist spiritual individuals condemned the postponement, which remained valid at the end of the yr. The Ministry of Schooling has labored with the US Embassy to advertise spiritual tolerance in the nation by disseminating new curricula for civil schooling to grades 4-9 that promote inclusion and tolerance. The curricula have been designed to exchange the sooner material that contained a discriminatory language directed at non-Muslims.

State officials throughout the country at airports continued to stop ladies from touring outdoors the nation with no male guardian, despite the fact that the regulation or government decree was not limited to such a journey. Non-governmental organizations representing native staff reported that ladies typically had male family members on the airport, they usually made a written permission for their male guardians to go away the country.

In line with human rights activists, the position of Islam in political decision-making was still a big difficulty among the many supporters and opponents of political Islam, in the Salafist teams and in those that wished for higher separation between spiritual apply and political points. The draft Constitution would retain sharia's "source of legislation". The draft Structure additionally prohibits non-Muslims from states, including the Presidency, legislature, and prohibits non-Muslims from appointing government ministers.


In the course of the yr, non-state actors and militias continued to operate and control the world throughout the nation, together with Bengazi and part of Tripoli. There have been quite a few studies of armed teams in Derna previous to LNA operations to accumulate the town, limiting spiritual practices, observing Sharia compliance, and concentrating on those thought-about as violations of their norms

A number of sources of Islamic militant groups and organized crime teams of the state focused spiritual minorities , including Christian immigrants, turned to Christianity, and overseas residents for bodily assaults, sexual violence, arrests, abductions and murders. Earth-based Christian groups defined the LNA-compliant Madkhali Salafist teams working in Benghazi among the many Islamic teams involved in the harassment of Christians. Educational Studies and the Media describe the Madkhali motion as a very strict type of salafism

In accordance with Christian groups in this country, Christian residents continued to report abuses committed by militant Muslim groups, together with members of the former Libyan defend, in the Libyan Daybreak Battalion, whose physical abuse towards prisoners contained games, exposure to cold weather and other abuses; additionally they threatened Christians by threatening. Christian residents reported comparable abuses by other groups, such because the Benghazi Revolutionary Brigade (JBB), the Jihadist Salafist militia congress. Christian groups referred to an instance of a Coptic Christian man who was returned to Egypt in 2017 after BRB captured him and stored him for 18 days.

Human Rights Watch introduced that on January 23, an unrecognizable armed group or blasted two automotive bombs in Benghazi at Baya & al-Radwan Mosque, when worshipers left prayers after the night, killing no less than 34 men, including three youngsters, and over 90 other individuals have been wounded. In line with the two most essential hospital employees, civilians have been the primary victims of emergency and trauma providers in Benghazi.

In December, the Reuters information company informed the local authorities that they have been exhumated by 34 Ethiopian Christians. ISIS. In response to Reuters, in April 2015, the video despatched to social media seemed to look like ISIS members who shoot and throw Christians who have been migrant staff.

Reuters additionally introduced that the government returned to Egypt with the corps of 20 Coptic Christians in Might. Reuters reported that an internet video released in January 2015 appeared to point that ISIS members have been killing people together with a Ghanaian Christian at Sirte Seashore and buried them in a mass grave.

In January, Christian Science Monitor announced that the Madkhali motion was extra influential. Christian Science Monitor reported that the Madkhali models involved in LNA stakeholders acted as casual police forces. The newspaper stated in January, members of the Madkhali Motion patrolled the streets of Tripoli to stop the crime and what they thought-about "the opposite" towards Islam and disrupted ISIS cells and assaults.

MEIA, the non-recognized government of Japanese Finland, used its potential to provide fat. In response to local human rights activists, the followers of the Madkhali Movement in Benghazi also influenced educational establishments in addition to the apparent supervision of the MEIA

12. November Mousa Abdalsalam Taieb, Director of Cultural and Religious Change, MEIA, East, issued a circular invitation to the takfir (assertion that someone is an unimaginable [kafir] and not a Muslim) punishment for individuals celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed; cooked porridge, traditionally made for this vacation; or working towards Muhammad's ritual praise. Sources said that each one these practices have been a part of conventional Islamic apply in the nation

Based on Human Rights Watch, the TIA-Provincial Provincial Provincial Social gathering of 2017 in Tobruk remained in drive towards the group

in line with Libyan educational scholars Benghazi The overall authorities continued to review citizens' condemnation of Islam and reworking others into Christianity and well-being in social media.

Based on human rights activists and political analysts, the East MEIA continued to offer texts for Friday providers for sucking, typically including political and social messages. Based on the media, LNA continued to call quite a few suckers with Salafist beliefs in its control areas all through the East.

US-designated overseas terrorist organizations, together with Ansar al-Sharia, AQIM, and ISIS, continued their activities in the nation, although there have been no obvious religiously motivated assaults through the yr. Sources confirmed that Ansar al-Sharia maintains links with extremist actions in different elements of the country, including AQIM. After Sirte had been expelled in December 2016, ISIS was believed to be limited to uninhabited areas outdoors giant cities and to uncontrolled areas in the south.

On June 28, LNA took control of the Dujaa Mujahideen Shura Council in the japanese city of Derna (SCMD), an umbrella group of Salafist teams opposing ISIS, together with Ansar al-Sharia. In accordance with human rights activists, when the SCMD controls Derna, it restricted the freedom of Sunni Muslims to worship or take part in what SCMD considered heterodox spiritual expression.

In October, Ali Al-Subaiy, a former member of the Libyan Islamic Battle Group, and an unsuccessful Candidate for the Home of Representatives in the Hayy al-Andalus neighborhood of Tripoli, gave an interview on a Channel 9 TV station at Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey. Al-Subaiy referred to as the Jews "descendants of monkeys and pigs" and requested for "offensive jihad" towards Jews and Christians. In September, al-Subaiy stated in an interview on the same channel that “history tells us that [the Jews] are deceptive and fraudulent.”

Part III. The Standing of Social Respect for Religious Freedom

A number of sources, together with international media, and Libya (AOHRL) continue to report on the social surroundings limiting spiritual freedom throughout the nation. This included intense social and financial strain on former Muslims to return to Islam. NGOs and the UN agency said that salafist interpretations of Sharia have been more and more affected by this restrictive surroundings. Religious minorities stated that different religions, atheists, agnostics, and other spiritual persons have been threatened with violence or dismissal for their work because of their beliefs or convictions. The Benghazi atheist stated he was subjected to discrimination and needed to publicly affirm his perception in Islam (which was in conflict together with his personal beliefs) towards the threats of his colleagues and Salafist militant groups

Sources stated Christians who turned from Islam practiced their faith in a semi-secret. The Open Doors USA said that Christian citizens who have been former Muslims faced the violence of their families and communities and the robust strain to desert their religion. Christians stated they have been beneath strain to abstain from missionaries because of the security threats and social strain of the area people. Catholic authorities additionally said that Christian immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa have been more more likely to expertise discrimination or extortion than Muslims in the identical region

Christian communities continued to exist in Tripoli, the place Catholic, Anglican and Protestant church buildings function with foreigners. There were also Christian communities amongst Misrata, al-Baida, Benghazi, Tubruq, Sebha, Ghat, Ubari and Murzuq. In some instances, resembling Benghazi, Catholic communities continued to worship in locations aside from church buildings after ISIS destroyed the Church's properties in 2015. The Benghazi Catholic Cathedral remained intact and unattainable after the battle in 2013-15.

Unidentified individuals at Human Rights Watch on the end of 2017 attacked two historic Sufi mosques in Tripoli. Unidentified individuals ignited the Sufi mosque, Zawiyat Sheikha Radiya, causing appreciable injury and destroying the mosque of Sidi Abu Gharara. On the end of the yr, no arrests associated to assaults

Part IV. US Authorities Coverage and Dedication

Evolution of the US Embassy in Tripoli and Interruption of Exercise in July 2014 US diplomats have been working in Tunis, Tunisia, periodically touring to the nation when security circumstances allow. On a number of occasions, the US authorities mentioned spiritual freedom with many native and nationwide leaders, particularly in the face of violent extremist groups comparable to ISIS. Embassy officials typically met human rights activists, such as the Libyan Nationwide Human Rights Commission and AOHRL, to deal with issues of spiritual freedom. The US authorities additionally condemned the bodily abuse of spiritual minorities in arrest and destruction of spiritual property. The US Embassy, ​​in cooperation with the Ministry of Schooling, is disseminating new curricula for civil schooling in grades 4 to 9 that promote inclusion and tolerance.

(Source: US State)