Libya: 48 More Foreign Christians Arrested in Benghazi
Libyan security officials arrested almost 50 more foreign Christians last week in Benghazi, Christianity Today reports. According to Agence France-Presse, 48 Egyptian Christians who worked as traders in a city marketplace are accused of attempting to evangelize Muslims, but were arrested on charges of illegal immigration. The Egyptians "were found in possession of a quantity of Bibles, texts encouraging conversion to Christianity, and images of Christ and the late Pope Shenouda of Egypt's Coptic Christians, none of which were for 'personal use,'" a security official told AFP. The Egyptian Human Rights Union Organisation, chaired by Coptic Christian Najib Gabriel, has appealed to the Arab League for help in releasing those arrested. "When arrested, they were not engaged in proselytism," he said. "They were just having pictures of the Christ and the [late Coptic] Pope Shenouda, things always carried by Christians to invoke blessings." On Thursday, Libya's prime minister urged militias, one of which is suspected to have arrested the Christians, to join government security forces. "Militias, however, often act with impunity, running their own prison cells, making arrests and taking confessions in total absence of state control and oversight," the Associated Press noted.