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LONDON [MENL] -- Saudi Arabia has launched a crackdown on Christian activists amid heightened Islamic unrest in the kingdom. Christian sources in the kingdom said at least 15 Christians from Africa have been arrested in Jedda over the last few months for conducting non-Islamic services in private homes. Three of them are said to have been tortured in prison.The Christians are nationals from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Nigeria. The sources did not report any arrest of Western Christians. About 50,000 Americans are said to be in Saudi Arabia, many of them from the military or defense industries.Saudi Arabia does not allow the worship of any other religion other than Islam. Jews are not allowed in the kingdom and Christians are warned that they risk arrest if they participate in private prayer gatherings. This, despite a directive by the Saudi Interior Ministry that allows private worship.The sources said this is the first confirmed report of physical torture of Christians detained for worship. The detainees have not been allowed to see their families.The Christian rights group, International Christian Concern, said the United States has raised the issue of the latest crackdown with Saudi diplomats. The group said Riyad has pledged to Washington that the Christians will be released.In Washington, the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the Bush administration not to shelve human rights concerns over Saudi Arabia and other countries that are reported to violate religious rights. In a letter sent by the commission to President George Bush the panel demanded that, "in forging alliances against terrorism, the United States not compromise its commitment to human rights including religious freedom and democracy. We oppose such policy trade-offs."The Saudi crackdown comes amid increased Islamic unrest in the kingdom. Last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the eastern city of Khobar. The blast killed an American national and wounded four other people.

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anonymous  January 28, 2008 5:01 AM

"When Islam gained control of Saudi Arabia 1,300 years ago, all Christians were expelled from the country. Considering itself the guardian of Islam's holiest sites, all other religions are forbidden."
Quote from 'Voice of the Martyred Christian.'
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anonymous  January 28, 2008 5:06 AM

"Despite agreements on religious freedom and enjoying a favorable status with Western nations, Saudi Arabia has one of the world's worst human rights records. Any person involved in evangelism or who converts a Muslim faces jail, expulsion or execution. Even foreigners visiting are not allowed to gather for worship."
Quote from Voice of the Martyred Christian.

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anonymous  January 28, 2008 5:07 AM

"In March, 2004, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz formally endorsed the establishment of the National Human Rights Association.  Saudi Arabia has signed agreements on religious freedom and enjoys a favorable status with Western nations.  Despite all this, Saudi Arabia has one of the world's worst human rights records. Any person involved in evangelism or who converts a Muslim faces jail, expulsion or execution. Often false drug charges are used against those evangelizing. Even foreigners visiting are not allowed to gather for worship. Since 1992  there are more than 360 cases of Christian expatriates being arrested for participating in private worship. Despite this, the Defense Minister, Prince Sultan, told reporters in March 2003 that Christians are free to worship privately, but reiterated that no church buildings will be allowed. He said, "We are not against religions at all ... but there are no churches - not in the past, the present or future." With the death of King Fahd, persecution of believers has not improved, but has been on the rise under the new King Abdullah."

Quote from 'Voice of the Martyred Christian.

Prayer Requests
  • Pray for Christians working secretly to share the message of Christ in Saudi Arabia.
  • Pray that nations of the world will pressure Saudi Arabia to act on their agreements and recognize the rights of their citizens.
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anonymous  January 28, 2008 5:12 AM

First of Released Christians Arrive in Manila, Amsterdam
by Barbara G. Baker

"ISTANBUL, July 14 (Compass) -- Five of some 20 expatriate Christians arrested in Riyadh last month were deported by the Saudi Arabian government to their home countries today. Four Filipinos and a Dutch national were believed to have been expelled for involvement in Christian activities, which are strictly forbidden in the Muslim kingdom.

At least eight other Filipinos arrested in the police crackdown on suspected Christian worshippers have reportedly been transferred out of detention cells, in preparation for their imminent deportation later this week.

Riyadh sources also confirmed that Saudi authorities had promised to return the confiscated passport of Yolanda Aguilar, enabling the young mother to apply for an exit visa to return with her month-old baby daughter to the Philippines. After Aguilar's husband Rufino fled Saudi Arabia on June 11 to avoid arrest, his nine-month pregnant wife was detained and interrogated by Saudi police several times. She has remained under semi-house arrest at the hospital compound where she gave birth.

Filipino Christians Ariel Ordona, Angelito Hizon, Ruben Aguirre and Gali Afurong arrived shortly before noon today in Manila on a direct Saudia Air flight. They were met by relatives and members of their home churches.

According to a church leader who talked personally with three of the four men, all the prisoners had been surprised when they were told suddenly that they were being released and deported without a formal trial. The released Christians said they expected more of the former prisoners to arrive on the next flight to Manila from Riyadh tomorrow.

"Only one of the men I talked with was harmed physically while under arrest," the church leader said.

From Holland, Dirk den Hertog confirmed that his brother Wim den Hertog arrived early Tuesday morning on a direct flight from Riyadh to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The 35-year-old Dutch businessman was reunited with his wife and three children 31 days after his arrest. During his detention he was held incommunicado from any diplomatic access. His family was eventually allowed to speak with him three times by telephone.

"We have not been informed officially about the charges, nor were we given any access to visit him while he was in prison," spokesperson Bridget Tazelaar confirmed from the Dutch Foreign Ministry in The Hague today.

"According to (Wim den Hertog)," Tazelaar told Compass, "he is not allowed to go back. But I cannot confirm that."

A Dutch friend who spoke with den Hertog today told Compass that he said he had been treated well. "Every day he got vegetables and all kinds of fruit, and he didn't have any physical abuse, only psychological pressure," the source said. Contrary to earlier reports that the Dutch citizen had been arrested by the "muttawa" (religious police), den Hertog stated that his case had been handled by the Ministry of Interior.

The Dutch Christian said he was kept in solitary confinement for the first two days, and questioned for many hours during the initial 17 days of his detention. "But he told me that last weekend there came a sudden change in the attitudes of people who were handling his case," the source told Compass. After his transfer to another cell, he said one inmate tried to convert him to Islam so he could "preach Islam in the Netherlands."

News Quote by Barbara Baker

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anonymous  January 28, 2008 5:27 AM

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anonymous  January 28, 2008 5:32 AM


      Since January 2000, Christian Solidarity Worldwide has taken up the cases of no less than 38 Christians 
      in Saudi Arabia who have all faced harassment from the authorities in connection with their private 
      Christian  activities. All 38 were foreign nationals residing in the Kingdom.

      In the most recent clampdown, 14 foreign nationals were arrested in Jiddah, a city on the south-west 
      coast of Saudi Arabia, over a period of seven weeks from July to September 2001.

      The arrests followed the late-night raid of the residence of Indian national, Prabhu Isaac. Prabhu’s 
      personal computer, which contained names and addresses of other Christians in the city, was seized 
      and is thought to have led to the further arrests. Prabhu and his family had been due to leave Saudi 
      Arabia permanently and had held a farewell party, which Saudi nationals are alleged to have attended.

      CSW believes that one of the reasons for the spate of arrests was to try to track down any Saudi citizens 
      with Christian sympathies, since the penalty for changing religion is death. 

      In an unrelated incident, Filipino Christian Wilfredo Caliuag was arrested in early July on fabricated 
      charges of the illegal use of an alias. During his detention, Wilfredo was accused of being a religious 
      teacher and was interrogated to try to extract information about the underground network of Christian 
      believers in Jiddah. As a result of the appalling conditions in his detention cell, Wilfredo was admitted to 
      hospital and lay in a coma for two days. Tell-tale bruising was reported. He was finally deported to the 
      Philippines on August 9th. 


      Over the past two years, Saudi Arabia has engaged in an unprecedented level of debate regarding the 
      human rights situation in the kingdom.  In a statement to the UN Commission on Human Rights, 2000, the 
      Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs said that equal rights were granted to all citizens and foreign 
      residents. Later, a Saudi official described critics of its human rights record as enemies of God, religion 
      and humanity. Saudi Arabia became a member of the Commission on Human Rights in 2001.

      In a rare public rebuke, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that the “narrow interpretations 
      of Islamic texts” by Saudi state authorities have led to violations against minors.


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anonymous  May 29, 2008 9:47 PM

A MEDAL FOR BRASS:  Already dogged by a reputation for promoting religious extremism abroad and repression at home, the government of Saudi Arabia now faces growing resentment at soaring oil prices. As is their custom, Saudi rulers have responded with a public relations campaign. It's a campaign built on deception.  Full Story>>

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anonymous  January 29, 2009 7:11 PM


SAUDI ARABIA: AUTHORITIES ARREST CHRISTIAN CONVERT. Five months after the daughter of a member of Saudi Arabia’s religious police was killed for writing online about her faith in Christ, Saudi authorities have reportedly arrested a 28-year-old Christian man for describing his conversion and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his Website. Full Story>>  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
anonymous  February 04, 2009 10:42 AM

Saudi Arabian Authorities Arrest Christian Convert*

Saudi authorities have reportedly arrested a 28-year-old Christian man for describing his conversion and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his website. On Jan. 13, Saudi police arrested Hamoud Bin Saleh “because of his testimony that he converted from Islam to Christianity,” according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).  Bin Saleh, who had been detained for nine months in 2004 and again for a month last November, was reportedly being held in Riyadh’s Eleisha prison.

His journey to Christ began after witnessing the public beheading of three Pakistanis convicted of drug charges. Shaken, he began an extensive study of Islamic history and law, as well as Saudi justice. His research led him to an exploration of other faiths and of the Bible.  After reading how Jesus forgave rather than stoned a woman condemned for adultery, Bin Saleh prayed to receive Christ as his Savior.  According to Compass Direct News Bin Saleh encouraged others to “just look and ask for the light of God.”  Please pray for those living in darkness, that they too will seek the “light” of JesusRead the full report>>

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anonymous  February 26, 2009 6:33 PM

SAUDI KING SHAKES UP RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT: The Saudi king on Saturday dismissed the chief of the religious police and a cleric who condoned killing the owners of TV networks that broadcast "immoral" content, signaling an effort to weaken the country's hard-line Sunni establishment. Full Story>>

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anonymous  April 04, 2009 7:13 AM

Arrest of a 28 yr old man for voicing his conversion.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
anonymous  April 22, 2009 8:34 PM

April 22, 2009 

Dear Donna 

“Give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.” 1 Kings 8:28 

Praising God: Saudi Arabia Releases Christian Blogger

In the February 2, Weekly Prayer Alert we asked you to prayer for Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri. According to Compass Direct News, Hamoud was arrested in January for describing his conversion from Islam to Christianity on his blog and for criticizing the Kingdom’s judiciary system. Hamoud was released on March 28 with the stipulation that he not travel outside of Saudi Arabia or appear in the media. Praise God for his release!      

Lord, we thank You for Your faithfulness; we thank You for the courage of Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri to boldly proclaim his faith and love for You.  We pray for his protection as he grows in his walk with you. We pray for his witness to those who still walk in darkness.  May the love he shares, the daily choices he makes… open the eyes and hearts of others in his community so they will want to follow his Savior; to follow You. "He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.” John 1:7

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 March 29, 2012 4:22 AM

  'Destroy All the Churches' Saudi Arabia's Poor Treatment of Christians: According to several Arabic news sources, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is "necessary to destroy all the churches of the region." Elliot Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations responded in an article in The Atlantic: "The Grand Mufti's statement ought to be widely denounced around the world, and won't be--a scandal and a shame.” Read more>>

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 May 11, 2012 7:41 AM

Glimmers of Christ's Light in Darkness of Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, where conversion to another religion from Islam is a capital crime, the Internet is making an impact, leading to both conversions to Christ and increased persecution.
Read More

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