Persecution of Christians Increases in Saudi Arabia after New King Inaugurated

Persecution among believers of religions other than Islam has noticeably increased since the new king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, was installed after the death of King Fahd, AsiaNews has reported.

AsiaNews has reported that sources have confirmed that the religious police known as the Muttawa, have raided homes of foreigners, and Christians have especially been targeted.

Many groups who used to have prayer meetings at home have stopped and more people have stopped meeting with each other due to fear that they might be linked to one another by police. In the last few months, Indians have been targeted scrupulously, say AsiaNews.

India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has sent a circular to Indian nationals, warning them that Indians are increasingly being detained for engaging in religious activities, according to Indo-Asia News.

The ambassador advised them not to preach in any way or organise prayer meetings in private homes. He also told the Indian government to warn everyone leaving for the Saudi Kingdom to leave behind religious books, Bibles, photos or icons, AsiaNews has reported.

Saudi Arabia follows just behind North Korea as the country persecuted most for Christianity, according to statistics by the international organisation Open Doors.

Practicing any religion other than Wahhabi fundamentalist Islam has been outlawed by the Saudi government. All missionary activity or public expression of faith, including possessing Bibles, holding a rosary, wearing a crucifix, and praying in public, is banned, AsiaNews report. The Muttawa makes sure the law is forcefully adhered to and AsiaNews report that the use of violence and torture to impose the restrictions has been used.

Due to international pressure, people under the Saudi Kingdom have been allowed to practice their religious beliefs in their homes for the last few years. But this has been ignored by the Muttawa as they continue to arrest, jail and torture people who practiced other religions.