Patheos Watermark

You are running a very outdated version of Internet Explorer. Patheos and most other websites will not display properly on this version. To better enjoy Patheos and your overall web experience, consider upgrading to the current version of Internet Explorer. Find more information HERE.

Libya
Population (2009 est.)6,310,434
Religious DemographicsSunni Muslim 97%, other 3%
Ethnic GroupsBerber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)
LanguagesArabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities

The country has an area of 703,816 square miles and a citizen population of 5.8 million. Ninety-seven percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Small Christian communities consist almost exclusively of sub-Saharan migrants and a small number of American and European expatriate workers. Two bishops--one in Tripoli, one in Benghazi--lead an estimated 50,000 Coptic Christians, most members of the estimated 750,000 Egyptian expatriate population. Roman Catholic clergy operate in larger cities, working primarily in hospitals, orphanages, and with the elderly or physically impaired. A priest in Tripoli and a bishop resident in Cairo lead the Anglican community. A Greek Orthodox archbishop resident in Tripoli and a priest in Tripoli and Benghazi serve 80 regular Orthodox churchgoers. The Ukrainian Embassy in Tripoli also maintains a small Orthodox church for Tripoli's Russian-speaking population. There are Unitarian churches in Tripoli and Benghazi as well as small Unitarian congregations scattered throughout the country. An evangelical Protestant church in Tripoli serves a population of primarily African migrant workers. While the country historically has no Shi'a community, there were reports that small numbers of Iraqi Shi'a fleeing sectarian tensions in Iraq immigrated during the reporting period. There is no known Jewish community.
Numerous Christian groups meet for worship in Tripoli, including hundreds of African migrant Protestants and Roman Catholics. Coptic clergy report large congregations consisting largely of expatriate Egyptian laborers. Between 100 and 200 Anglicans, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, and an estimated 80 Orthodox Christians, including members of the Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Russian communities, attend weekly Friday services.
Approximately 1.5 to 2 million foreigners reside in the country, most of whom originated in neighboring Arab countries and sub-Saharan Africa, with smaller numbers from South and Southeast Asia. Virtually all non-Sunni Muslims are foreigners. While there was no information on the number of foreign missionaries, the Government criminalizes the proselytizing of Muslims and therefore forbids missionary activity aimed at citizens. Government claims that all citizens are "by definition" Sunni Muslim, coupled with broad prohibitions on any sort of independent political association, prevent citizens from identifying themselves as members of any religious or political group.

CLOSE | X

HIDE | X