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Pressure from Islamic radicals driving Catholic religious out of eastern Libya

Catholic World News - January 31, 2013

Two Catholic religious communities have been forced to abandon their residences in Libya, and others are planning to leave, because of mounting pressure from Islamic militants.

“The situation is critical” in eastern Libya, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar in Tripoli, told the Fides news service. The Congregation of the Holy Family, which had been established in Derna for almost 100 years, is one of the religious communities that has left the region. The apostolic vicar in Benghazi has been warned to leave his church before the mass demonstrations that are scheduled for mid-February.

A few Catholic religious institutions remain in eastern Libya, Bishop Martinelli reports. He says: “As a Church we will take our precautions, but we cannot abandon the Christians who remain there.”

“Here in Tripoli so far the situation is relatively calm,” the apostolic vicar says. But in the east of the country Christians are “very tense.”

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