Religious Minorities

Libya has a large majority of Sunni Muslim population (97%), along with small religious minority groups. These include Sufi and Ibadi Muslims, Coptic Christians, Roman Catholics, and Anglicans. A small Jewish population largely left Libya in the 1950s. Libya had no official policies regarding religious freedom except for the 1988 Great Green Charter on Human Rights guaranteed freedom of conscience and stated the personal nature of religious belief. The Gadhafi regime closely monitored the activity of religious groups and dictated the content of sermons and all kind of religious teachings and forced people to support the official doctrine of the state.  Christians had the right to worship freely as long as they refrained from engaging in any political activity or proselytism. However the state put limitation on Christian denominations to one church per city. After Gadhafi’s overthrow in 2011, the status of religious freedom in Libya remains difficult to assess. Yet the National transitional council vowed to protect religious minorities in the constitutional declaration, guarantee the rights of both religious and ethnic minorities, and to acknowledge religious freedom for non-Muslims and equality before the law for all Libyans.

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