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Saudi Arabia Facts

Score: 77 / 100
Region: Middle East
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 33,554,000
Christians: 1,419,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Leader: King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Profile of Persecution

Violence 14%
Church Life 98%
National Life 91%
Community Life 84%
Family Life 81%
Private Life 90%

Strict Islamic system

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.

How Christians are suffering

In addition to family pressures, Christian converts are also at high risk 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.

Examples

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.

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.

 

Pray for Saudi Arabia

  • Pray that Saudis who recently embraced the truth of the gospel would become strong and mature in their walk with Jesus.
  • Pray with isolated women converts who have no community and are living their faith in secret. Ask God to be their strength and comforter.
  • Pray that God would prepare the way for Christian converts to effectively share the gospel with their family members.
  • Ask God to strengthen this small but growing church. Pray for boldness and discernment as young converts use technology to grow in their faith and share Jesus.
  • Pray that God would put an aching in Muslims’ hearts and give them visions and dreams pointing them to Jesus.

Stories from Saudi Arabia

December 6, 2018

5 Countries Where Christmas Is a Crime

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June 20, 2018

UPDATE: Pray for Isolated Saudi Mom Nawal Still Living in Secrecy

The outside world still thinks Nawal is a Muslim. She doesn’t discuss her personal faith with others, afraid of the…

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June 14, 2018

Persecution on Global Stage at World Cup–7 Participating Countries on World Watch List

Over the next month, we can look to these seven countries on the World Watch List as reminders to pray…

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