By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - The wife and children of a Christian in Saudi Arabia have left the country after he was fined on charges such as “attempting to convert” Muslims to Christianity, Worthy News learned.
The man, named “A” or “Adam,” was also sentenced for helping his sister to escape the Islamic nation. He has 30 days to appeal the fine of $80,000, Christians said.
In May, "Adam's" wife was held captive by non-Christian family members who tried to convince her to leave him due to the charges, Worthy News learned.
She has since returned, and “he has thankfully been able to get his family to safety, ” according to sources familiar with the situation.
“His wife and younger son have relocated to a safe country where they are being protected. And his eldest son was able to leave Saudi Arabia earlier,” confirmed advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
In published remarks, the man’s unidentified wife told supporters: "How beautiful are your messages with all those words. You are a light that lightens my path; that comforts our soul and strengthens it.”
She added: “I am very happy with you, and it is a great honor to be part of this family - - - the family of Christ.”
Christians urged prayers that despite their physical separation from each other, the couple will “grow even stronger spiritually and relationally during this difficult time.” VOMC said the couple “needed strength, encouragement, and hope from the Lord.”
The trial comes amid broader concerns about the plight of the country’s Christian minority. “Expatriate Muslims converting to the Christian faith also face strong persecution, similar to the levels they would have experienced in their home country,” added advocacy group Open Doors. “Whether Saudi or otherwise, most converts are forced to practice their faith in secrecy.”
Despite the reported crackdown by authorities, the small number of Saudi Christians has been slowly increasing, according to Christian rights investigators. “And they are becoming bolder, sharing their faith with others on the Internet and Christian satellite TV channels,” Open Doors noted. However, “Such public action has led to serious repercussions from Saudi families and authorities,” it said, referring to detentions and raids.
There are some 1.2 million Christians among Saudi Arabia’s roughly 35 million people, according to Open Doors estimates.