Ethiopian Christians Arrested in Saudi Arabia

Thursday, December 22, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

saudi-arabia-mapRIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (Worthy News)-- Saudi police arrested 42 Ethiopian Christians attending a prayer meeting in Jeddah Thursday.

Saudi police and security officers raided a private prayer meeting at the home of an Ethiopian Christian in the Al-Safa district of Jeddah; attendees were reportedly beaten before being arrested and then taken to an undisclosed location.

"Saudi Arabian officials have arrested Christians in the past, but it is unprecedented for them to arrest 42 Christians at one time," a church leader in Jeddah told International Christian Concern. "We are particularly concerned about the children of the detained Christians."

Christians in Arabia, most of whom are foreign workers, are not allowed to practice their faith openly, but Saudi police can also raid private worship services, deport attendees and confiscate any Christian materials, especially Bibles, which are illegal to bring into the Islamic Kingdom.

"Though not permitting a single church building where Christians can worship in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government goes even further to assault the religious freedoms of its citizens and foreign workers by hunting for and arresting Christians who attend services in the privacy of their own homes," said Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East.