Last month, Libya’s national assembly voted in favor of making Koranic Law, or Shariah, the basis of all legislative decisions, leaving Coptic Christians fearful of increased oppression, Fox News reports.
Libya’s Coptic Christians, who make up about 5 percent of the population, were able to practice their faith under ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi. But Muslim fundamentalists have increasingly filled the power void, and this new legislation has left Christians feeling like the promise of democracy in the wake of Qaddafi’s fall has been broken.
“Islamic law is the source of legislation in Libya,” stated the General National Congress in a statement released shortly after the vote was held. “All state institutions need to comply with this.”
A special committee has begun reviewing existing laws to ensure that they comply with Shariah, according to a recent report.
Christian workers have been the targeted since Qaddafi’s ouster in October 2011. According to the Fox News report, earlier this year, Libyan authorities reportedly released four Egyptian missionaries who had been arrested for proselytizing. A fifth Egyptian Christian, Ezzat Atallah, died while in prison. Their supporters say all they did was possess images of the cross for their own spiritual reflection.
Publication Date: January 7, 2013.