Libya’s history is one of foreign occupation and exploitation by various empires. It has been a territory of the Roman, Arab and Ottoman Empires, as well as an Italian colony during the 20thcentury. Libya was under British administration following the Second World War until the country gained independence in 1951, becoming the Kingdom of Libya, under King Idris.
Libya was the first country to gain independence via the United Nations, through diplomatic negotiations with the English and the French. Libya remained a kingdom until a military coup in 1969, led by Muammar Gaddafi, displaced the King and forced him into exile.
A six-month uprising and civil war in 2011 ended Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year-long rule. Announcing the “liberation” of Libya the day after Col Gaddafi was captured and killed on 22 October, the National Transition Council chair called for reconciliation, and said that Islamic law would be the foundation of legislation. The country’s first free national elections in 60 years were held in July 2012. The elected General National Congress (GNC) was given responsibility for preparing the way for a new constitution and fresh parliamentary elections, held in June 2014. However, the Islamist-dominated GNC refused to acknowledge the new mainly liberal and nationalist House of Deputies and ordered its dissolution. Still recognised by the UN, this parliament was forced to flee 1,000 km east to Tobruk as militias took over Tripoli and a second, rival government began meeting in the capital.
Libya relies heavily on its oil industry. It has the tenth largest reserves in the world from which it obtains over half of its annual Gross National Product. Industry and trade are largely nationalised with relatively little current foreign investment or privatisation.
The country struggles with international embargoes and the after-effects of several decades of economic isolation, as well as foreign debts. Admitting to a Berlin bombing in 2004 and the hijacking of two foreign airplanes in 2003, Libya is still in the process of paying compensation to the families of victims, the former of which is $35 million.
In the light of recent turmoil, Libya has been under much foreign investigation for alleged human rights abuses concerning people trafficking to replace labour lost in the armed conflict.
Libya has a 81.6% average literacy rate, owing to compulsory free education for both genders.
Libya is ranked as 193rd out of 196 countries for freedom of the press.
Of a population of six million, only 1% is Christian, with 98% practising Islam. After independence following World War II, Jews in Libya faced great persecution, resulting in the exodus of 31,000 Jews to Israel in the 1950s. They continue to face great social discrimination.
Freedom of religion exists in Libya, aside from the right to proselytize. Freedom of assembly, unless in direct support of the government, is also forbidden, so numerous churches are “underground”. The majority of Libya’s Christian population are foreigners – owing to oppressive and discriminatory attitudes towards local believers often resulting in their ostracism from family and society.
- Pray for peace to return to Libya.
- Praise God for Libyan believers and pray they may be able to continue to meet together.
- Pray for increased tolerance for local believers by the community at large.
 Non-Renewable Resources Commission Report 2007
 CIA World Factbook
 IMT Middle East Literacy Report 2006
 Freedom House Global Press Statistics