Christian’s under fire in Libya

Historic St George Church in Tripoli

International News Desk

Christian’s in the Middle East are under attack in a new wave attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists. Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Tripoli’s Old City, in Libya was attacked by four young men on Sunday according to reports from Christian groups.

Four men climbed over the walls of the church , smashed three icons in the church courtyard and burned Greek and Cypriot flags, a member of the congregation told the Libya Herald, but were unable to get into the locked church itself. They tried to set fire to the wooden frames of the icons but failed.

According to another member of the congregation, the priest who lives next door to the church was awakened at around 00:30 hrs by the noise. Alerted to his presence, the four men fled the scene. The police were called but so far have made no arrests.

The church is around the corner from the Othman Pasha madrassa which was attacked on 29 August by Salfists. Some thirty graves were dug up in the adjoining small cemetery and the remains removed.

This is the second time this year the Greek Church has been targeted. On 7 May an unknown assailant fired shots at the church, narrowly missing the priest as he opened the door in the morning.

Ten years ago, in 2002, the church was also broken into and precious items stolen.

The Republic of Cyprus currently holds the presidency of the European Union, an Orthodox Christian nation. Protests are being made to the foreign affairs commissioner of the EU Catherine Ashton who is being asked to contact the Libyan government to protect the Orthodox community from attacks.