Jews And Muslims In Libya


Within the state of Libya Sunni Islam is the dominant religion. There is an overwhelming majority of Sunni Muslims with a small minority of Christian communities including orthodox Christianity. There are over 60,000 Egyptian Copts within Libya which comprises approximately 1% of the population. In addition to this there are 40,000 Roman Catholics were served by two different bishops, one based out of Benghazi and one based out of Tripoli. The Bishop based out of Benghazi serves the Maltese Roman Catholic community and the bishop based out of Tripoli serves the Italian Roman Catholic community. There is also an Anglican community which is comprised mostly of African migrant workers based out of Tripoli.

Until recently Libya was actually home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, one which dates back to 300 BC. Unfortunately in 1945 there were a series of pogroms which lasted for three years and reduced the Jewish population for Olivia. As of 1948 only 38,000 Jews were actually still in the country. When the popular Arab-Israeli conflict started the Jewish population within Libya was forced to be persecuted or leave the country. Libya received independence in 1951 and many of the Jewish community members from Libya integrated at that time.

During the seventh century Muslims conquered the region and by the eighth century the indigenous citizens had mounted resistance. Urban areas in the country became Islamic and soon Islam was the most prevalent belief system throughout many of the cities and towns. Prior to the 1930s the Sanusi movement remains the primary Islamic movement throughout the area but religious revivals took place and the more conservative version of Islam was replaced with the current version of Islam.

Throughout Libya Christianity has remained minority. The largest group of Christian followers is the Coptic Orthodox Christians comprise from immigrant workers from Egypt. And unfortunately Judaism had a strong presence since the Hellenistic rule and while the area was a large and driving Jewish community today it is nearly empty of Jews who had immigrated to Israel. During the Second World War the Jewish population was subjected to severe anti-somatic laws by the Italian regime and the German troops. After the war there were many anti-Jewish violent uprisings which caused those who remained to leave for Israel. In 1945 all of a sudden the gods were looted and savage pogroms took place. Riots murdered many Jews and destroyed their homes.

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