Saudi Arabia has deported 27 Christians for “conducting Christian prayers” and being “in possession of Bibles,” Jihad Watch reports. These Lebanese Maronite Christians included women and children who were celebrating the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in their home.
The dreaded “religious police” raided a house in the Aziziyah neighborhood of Al Khafji, in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, and confiscated the Christians’ visas and deported them back to Lebanon. The group of Christians argued that the Koran esteemed the Blessed Virgin Mary so their prayers caused no insult.
According to Premier Christian Radio, there are around 5,000 religious police in the country, but any Muslim can enforce the law themselves, for example removing a Rosary.
In Saudi Arabia, Christians make up about 3% and churches are strictly forbidden. The primary religion is Islam and converting to other faiths is a crime punishable by death.
Open Door International, a charity that monitors the persecution of Christians, reported, “Even when held privately, Christian services are seriously restricted by the strict gender segregation, prohibiting men and women from different families to worship in the same room. Christians who engage in such activities risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture.”
Ainaorg. (2016). Ainaorg. http://www.aina.org/news/20160925125328.htm
Jihadwatchorg. (2016). Jihad Watch. https://www.jihadwatch.org/2016/09/saudi-arabia-27-christians-arrested-and-deported-for-conducting-christian-prayers-in-private-residence
Premier. (2016). Premier Christian Radio. http://www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Saudi-Arabia-deports-27-Christians-for-praying