Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and stronghold of Islam. The nation considers itself the guardian of Islam's holiest sites, and all other religions are forbidden. The country’s legal system is based on Shariah law, or Islamic law, as interpreted according to the strict Hanbali school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. The Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam is implemented, propagated and regulated by the state

Attacks against Christians and human rights abuses have in fact been on the rise since King Abdullah came into power in 2005. The country continues to have one of the worst human rights records in the world, with flagrant abuses against religions other than Sunni Islam. Saudi citizens are denied the freedom to choose or change their religion. Any person involved in evangelism, including the distribution of literature, faces jail, expulsion or execution. Often false charges, such as drug-related allegations, are used against evangelists. Even foreign visitors are not allowed to gather together for religious worship

Saudi converts to Christianity face the death penalty if discovered; executions are definitely known to occur. In August 2008, a young Saudi woman in Buraydah was killed by her brother, a Muslim cleric and religious police member of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, after she proclaimed her Christian faith to her family. Saudi authorities arrested a 28-year-old Christian man in January 2009 for describing his conversion from Islam and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his blog. On January 1, 2011, new regulations went into effect, requiring all Saudi news blogs and electronic news sites to be strictly licensed, to “include the call to the religion of Islam” and to strictly abide by Islamic Shariah law. The requirements are being coupled with strict restrictions on what topics Saudi bloggers can write on—a development which will essentially give Saudi authorities the right to shut down blogs at their discretion

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that nations of the world will pressure Saudi Arabia to act on their agreements and recognize the rights of their citizens.
  • Pray that Christians from Muslim backgrounds will find fellowship and continue to grow in their relationship with the Lord.
  • Pray expatriate and Saudi church leaders will be kept safe and have courage and wisdom.
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Saudi Arabia Profile

Population
26,131,703 (July 2011 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab (90), Afro-Asian (10)

Religion (%)
Muslim (92.41), Christian (5.43), Hindu (0.78), Other (1.38)

Leader
King and Prime Minister Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

Government type
Monarchy

Legal system
Based on Shariah law, several secular codes have been introduced

Statistics provided by CIA World Factbook and Operation World.