Libya made international headlines in February, 2015 when 21 men were executed by Islamic extremists. The Christians were dressed in orange jumpsuits and knelt on the beach, where they were summarily beheaded. The video was made public, which led to a widespread humanitarian outcry.
Mathew Ayairga was amongst the victims. His identity at first was unknown, but he was recognized by family and friends. Unlike the rest of the Christians who were killed, Ayairga was not an Egyptian, nor was he a Christian. Ayairga was kidnapped in Chad and had been missing for a month before the video was released.
While the men on the beach were executed, many of them cried out to Jesus in their final moments. Apparently, their great display of faith impacted Ayairga, because when the extremists demanded that he follow the ways of Islam, he refused, saying, “Their God is my God.” With that proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ, he was killed.
Libya is the most dangerous country in Northern Africa for Christians. There is a strong secret police network, and neighbors can receive up to $700 US for reporting on which of their neighbors are Christians. Muslims who convert to Christianity face extreme pressure from their family and neighbors. When Christians are attacked, police and legislatures usually refuse to punish the responsible parties.
On a more positive note, Libyans have shown tremendous response to the gospel. There are so many new converts that Bibles are in high demand. Let’s pray for God to keep on spreading his Word throughout this needy region.