Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) arrested 28 people for using a home as a church. The officials confiscated Bibles and musical instruments. The Christians were at the home for a prayer meeting.
Saudi Arabia bans non-Islam religions. Over 90% of the population are Sunnis. A citizen contacted authorities to report the gathering. The police arrested women and children.
“A citizen reported suspicious activities in the house to the Haia and alleged that an Indian man had turned his residence into a church,” said a Saudi Arabia newspaper.
The Hudson Institute’s Center of Religious Freedom in Washington, DC condemned the raid.
“Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy,” said director Nina Shea. “It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments.”
Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) will pressure the State Department to help these Christians. FOX News attempted to reach Saudi Arabia’s embassy press officer Nail Al-Jubeir, but his spokesman said he does not have any information on the arrests.
In February 2013, Saudi Arabia arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians for praying in a home. The authorities accused the three leaders of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. Three months later, a court sentenced two men to lashes for converting a woman to Christianity. From The Independent:
A Lebanese man was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes for converting the woman, while a Saudi man was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes for aiding her escape abroad, the English-language daily [Saudi Gazette] said. It added that the pair had challenged the verdict and would appeal.
She received asylum in Sweden.