2. Saudi Arabia
“In Sharia-ruled Saudi Arabia, the deplorable state of religious freedom remained generally unaltered in 2008. We received more information on incidents against Christians, which led to an increase in points. Under the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islamic law, apostasy (conversion to another religion) is punishable by death if the accused does not recant. For believers from a Muslim background, there is also a great risk of honor killing if their family or social environment discovers their new faith. During 2008, there was one confirmed report of honor killing of a convert to Christianity within a family. Public non-Muslim worship is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslim worshippers who engage in such activities risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture. During the reporting period, we received more reports of Christians arrested for their involvement in religious activities than during the previous year.”
“Believing in Jesus carries a death sentence and entry to the country is refused for most non-Muslims. All this makes Saudi Arabia the hardest and most terrifying place on earth for people to hear about Jesus and worship him. BUT God is bigger than any strategy that separates Him from the people he loves. Even in Saudi there are 50,000 people risking their lives to believe in God. This is an amazing testimony to thank God for and at the same a serious challenge for us to pray for change.
“Pray for the protection of believers in Saudi who face imprisonment, torture and even execution. Pray that many more would be able to hear the gospel, read the Bible and meet together in safety.” (Operation World)