Saudi Arabi is known to be one of the strongest Islamic state where Sharia law is the basis for their legal system which prohibited any form apostasy and no – Muslim places of worship. Death penalty, physical punishments where been imposed on violators.
These have made Christians in Saudi Arabia to hide and live in secret rendering their faith online. Though it was reported that last month some U.S evangelical leaders meet the crown prince of Saudi to discuss freedom of Christianity in the country.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) noted that, Saudi Arabia “remains uniquely repressive in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam”.
The government prosecutes, imprisons and flogs individuals for dissent, apostasy, blasphemy and sorcery, and imposes “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom”.
It’s not only religious people who are targeted. A law enacted in 2014 equates atheism with terrorism. The legislation bans “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of Islamic religion.”
Believers Portal reported that It’s not only religious people who are targeted. A law enacted in 2014 equates atheism with terrorism. The legislation bans “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of Islamic religion.”
There are, however, some 1.4 million Christians living in the country. According to a study earlier this year, 4.4 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s population identifies as Christian – up from less than 0.1. per cent (50 people) just over 100 years ago in 1910.
The majority of these Christians are expatriates or migrant workers, but according to persecution charity Open Doors, Saudi natives are also turning to Christianity.
The charity is supporting Mohammed (name changed), a secret believer who converted after learning about Christianity through an online discipleship course. He made contact with Christians in another Middle Eastern country, and then spent a week there – going to church for the first time, and attending Bible studies.
After a few days he was asked who Jesus was. “He is my Saviour, my God”, was Mohammed’s reply, and he was baptised, returning to Saudi Arabia with a Bible.
He knows no other Christians in his home country, but receives continued support online.
Saudi Arabia ranks 14th on Open Doors’ list of countries where Christians are most persecuted. According to the USCIRF, the government has made “improvements in policies and practices related to freedom of religion or belief”, but “it persists in restricting most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with its particular interpretation of Sunni Islam”.