|Persecution Type:||Islamic Oppression|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Leader:||King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud|
In Saudi Arabia, the state creates and maintains a strict Islamic system that treats Christians as second-class citizens. Islam is the only recognized religion. In fact, no other religion can have a place of worship. Consequently, Christians must gather in utter secrecy, if they gather at all.
The Saudi monarch has supreme power and absolute authority and can implement any law he champions as long as it complies with Sharia law and the Koran. Nevertheless, the small number of Saudi Christians grew over 2018. The next generation is also becoming bolder, sharing their Christian faith with others on the internet and through Christian satellite TV channels.
In addition to family pressures, Christian converts are also at high risk of Christian persecution in the community, including charges of apostasy punishable by a death sentence. However, in recent years no reported Saudi apostasy cases have resulted in the death penalty. Women who convert face specific risks. Legally, Muslim husbands can beat and divorce their wives if it’s discovered she has turned from Islam. Husbands can also take away her children and forbid her from seeing them. Consequently, Saudi converts, especially women, often keep their conversion secret and follow Jesus in isolation—forced to go through the motions of Muslim beliefs while holding tight to Jesus in their hearts.
Rape and sexual harassment remain a huge problem in Saudi Arabia. Christian women working as housemaids in Saudi homes are particularly vulnerable.
Several expatriate Christians were arrested and briefly detained in a small number of raids on fellowship meetings. Some local believers were arrested and falsely accused of having links with extremist groups.
Christian churches in Saudi Arabia are continuously targeted. Three underground house churches were reportedly closed, some after being raided by police.
Christians—both Saudis and foreigners—risk imprisonment, physical abuse and serious threats because of their faith. Several were forced to leave the country because of their faith or faith-related activities.
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