King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
The majority of the Christians in Saudi Arabia are foreigners who temporarily live and work in the country. Most of these workers come from low- and middle-income countries, and there are numerous reports of migrant workers being abused and being subjected to horrific working and living conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic made this reality even more obvious, as spikes in infections tended to center in migrant communities where sanitation and social distancing were much more difficult. Christian foreign workers can be targeted for their faith, since it’s another way to abuse a worker. Foreign Christians are heavily restricted from sharing their faith or gathering for worship, and any actions outside of the norm can lead to detention and deportation.
There are converts from Islam in Saudi Arabia. Those who came from majority-Muslim countries likely live and work in communities that reflect the cultural norms of their home—so they can be at risk if their social context is opposed to conversion. The few converts who are Saudi Arabian are usually forced to live out their faith in secrecy, risking violence, divorce and more. Nevertheless, there have been some Saudi Christians in recent years who have been bold enough to share their faith, at great risk to their lives.
Christian persecution remains high in Saudi Arabia, and has actually gotten worse in the last year. The country remains an extremely difficult place to be a Christian, especially for any native Saudi who finds Jesus.
The level of persecution in Saudi Arabia is generally the same all over the country, although social control is likely to be higher in rural areas. A possible exception are Western expatriate compounds where there is less control and pressure to adhere to strict Islamic norms.
Open Doors raises prayer support for Christians in Saudi Arabia.