In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the state religion is Wahhabism (a strict form of Sunni Islam, dating from the 18th century). Any Muslims who decide to follow Jesus face a death sentence and therefore must live out their faith in extreme secrecy.
Even expatriate Christians, who are supposedly allowed to worship together in private, can face harassment, detention and deportation. Their meetings may be aided by Saudi Arabia’s mutawaah (religious police), who ruthlessly enforce restrictions on behaviour. Even ordinary citizens can act as anti-Christian vigilantes. Christians from Western countries are likely to be deported, whereas Asian or African Christians who are discovered by the mutawaah are likely to face imprisonment and harsh punishments, before eventually they too are deported.
There is no separation between religion and state. Anyone who challenges this, or attempts to promote human rights, can be accused of blasphemy. Like apostasy, a blasphemy conviction officially carries a death sentence. According to Saudi law, the country has no constitution outside of the Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad (meaning records of his actions and words, which should be used as an example to follow). The judicial system is founded on the country’s strict interpretation of sharia. Saudi Arabia’s vast wealth from oil helps to fund dawa (Islamisation) worldwide.
According to Wahhabism, Islam must be the only religion on the Arabian Peninsula, so no church buildings are permitted in Saudi Arabia. Even school textbooks promote violence against Christians and Jews.
Pray that the brutality of the legal system will end and that the pillars of its laws will be set on the foundations of God’s justice. Restrictions on Saudi Arabia’s women have shown some signs of easing as they were allowed to vote and to stand in elections in December, for the first time in the country’s history. Pray that restrictions on non-Muslims will similarly be eased. Pray that all attempts to promote hatred against God’s people, whether in education, sermons, media or law, will be thwarted. Ask God to protect Saudi Arabians who have decided to leave Islam and become Christians. Pray that they will not feel loneliness in their secrecy and their tiny minority, but instead that they may know the company and support of their brothers and sisters around the world.