PRAYER ALERT: In one day alone, on May 29, more than 4200 Libyan migrants to Italy were rescued off Libya’s coast. German and Irish navy vessels helped Italian military craft in 22 separate rescue operations. They found 17 of the migrants dead. Last year Italy rescued about 170,000 migrants at sea. This year it expects more.
Libyan migrants to Italy are fleeing civil war and chaos in their own country. More refugees from war, poverty and persecution in Africa and the Mideast are boarding vessels in Libya. Italy—their doorway to more opportunity in Europe—is only a few hundred miles away. But the crossing is perilous. They pay exploitative smugglers high prices to cram into unseaworthy boats. They set sail on calm days, but often run into severe storms.
Already 1800 Libyan migrants to Italy have lost their lives this year. More than 800 of them died when a trawler sank on April 18. This tragedy provoked calls for other European states to help Italy—as well as Greece and Malta—with the burden of refugees. France, Sweden and Germany are already accepting refugees. France is asking the EU to distribute refugees to other European countries by quota. But another recent incident is probably giving them all pause. On April 16 Italian police arrested 15 Muslim migrants for throwing 12 Christians off an inflatable boat. They were charged with “multiple aggravated murders motivated by religious hate.”
The vicious jihadist group ISIS promised in February to conquer Rome, Italy. It made this boast after beheading 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. ISIS has gained a foothold in Libya. On September 22 it called for attacks on the US and Europe. The EU now proposes to destroy the smugglers’ boats, which may be used as Trojan horses for jihadist attacks. But Prime Minister Habib Essid of Tunisia—Libya’s neighbor—warned that wrecking the boats would be seen “as almost a military intervention.” And would meet a military reaction.
Southeast Asian nations are facing a similar Muslim migration crisis in the Indian Ocean…
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