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American Arrested in Libya for Proselytism



Daily Caller: A U.S. citizen was reportedly arrested Wednesday by Libyan government officials for Christian “proselytism,” which is an attempt to convert another person to a certain set of beliefs, according to AFP News, a French media outlet.

The citizen, Jeff Wilson, was allegedly working as a teacher in a private school, according to AFP News, and reportedly the CEO and founder of a business consulting firm. Libya’s Internal Security Agency announced Wednesday that an American had been arrested for “inciting our children to renounce Islam and convert to Christianity.”

A State Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it was “aware of reports” that a U.S. citizen had been detained in Libya.

“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the spokesperson said. “[T]he Department works to provide all appropriate assistance. The State Department’s Travel Advisory for Libya is Level 4 – Do Not Travel due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.”

Islam is the official state religion in Libya and while no law explicitly bans converting from Islam to Christianity or any other religion, “[p]roselytizing and the distribution or publication of information aimed at changing the country’s “social structure” is effectively illegal,” according to the State Department.

“According to one press report, the Special Deterrence Forces (SDF), a Salafist militia nominally aligned with the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Tripoli, engaged in Islamic religious policing in the capital,” a 2021 State Department report said. “According to human rights activists, the SDF continued to be involved in a number of arrests and detentions of individuals whom it accused of violating Islamic law. Human rights activists said freedom of conscience for converts to Christianity, atheists, and Muslims who deviated from Salafist interpretations of Islam was not respected.”

The agency also said that they had arrested a Libyan citizen for converting from Islam to Christianity, according to AFP News. The citizen reportedly posted a video explaining his conversion on Facebook and said that a foreigner had been the one to convince him to convert.

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