Persecution Update, November 2015: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia—the birthplace of Islam—is among the top dozen countries that persecute Christians and is the only nation in the world with an official policy that bans all Christian church buildings. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice rules the country by the strictest interpretation of Islam, also known as Wahhabism. The Commission has 3,500 religious police who enforce strict Islamic laws on dress codes and dietary rules. These officers have authority to arrest violators and are assisted by thousands of volunteers who provide tips for arrests. Officially, every Saudi citizen is considered a Muslim, and apostasy is punishable by death, often by beheading. The Christians in the country—who number only about 4% of the population—are primarily migrant workers from the Philippines and India who meet in underground churches. In addition to forbidding public expression of any other religion, the religious police raid house churches. Recently, a house church was raided, and 28 people were arrested, including women and children. Please pray for sufficient grace for believers who follow Christ at great risk in this Muslim nation.