World Watch List: 14
Leader: King/Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Population: 34.7 million
Christian: 1.2 million
Main Religion: Islam
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
Open Doors supports the persecuted church in the Arabian Peninsula through:
- Prayer support
- Distributing scripture resources
- Training believers and pastors
Meet a foreign Christian worker supporting Saudi believers
“Importing Bibles may still be illegal; they can easily access the Word of God online. Satellite television and the internet are bringing down walls that have been limiting the gospel to access this country for centuries.”
Persecution type: clan oppression/Islamic oppression
What does persecution look like in Saudi Arabia?
The majority of Christians in Saudi Arabia are expatriates. Most come from low/middle income countries in Asia and Africa, but there are also some from the Western world.
Besides being exploited and poorly paid, Asian and African workers are regularly exposed to verbal and physical abuse because of their ethnicity and low status, but their Christian faith can also play a role in this. Expatriate Christians are severely restricted in sharing their Christian faith with Muslims and in gathering for worship, which entails the risk of detention and deportation. Consequently, expatriates tend to keep silent about their faith.
The few Saudi Christians from a Muslim background face even more pressure, especially from their families. Expatriate Muslims converting to the Christian faith also face strong persecution, likely similar to the levels they would have experienced in their home country. Whether Saudi or otherwise, most converts are forced to practice their faith in secrecy.
Nevertheless, the small number of Saudi Christians has been slowly increasing, and they are becoming bolder, sharing their faith with others on the Internet and Christian satellite TV channels. Such public action has led to serious repercussions from Saudi families and authorities.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
The level of persecution in Saudi Arabia is generally the same all over the country, although social control is likely to be higher in rural areas. A possible exception are Western expatriate compounds where there is less control and pressure to adhere to strict Islamic norms.
- Pray that the Lord will continue to use the Internet to strengthen and unite believers, and grow the Saudi church.
- Pray that the Lord will reveal Himself to both Christians and non-Christians in dreams and visions.
- Pray for the protection of all Christians in Saudi Arabia, and for them to be given continued wisdom and discernment as they seek to follow and share Jesus.