In the top of the news were in Saudi Arabia for the murder of the journalist of “Washington post” Jamal Khashoggi shortly after he went to the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Arabia alleges that the journalist was killed “during the fight”. But statements from other sources, it dismembered the kill squad. Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi Arabia. Political liberty is very weak in this realm, while religious freedom is almost non-existent.
David curry of “Open doors” says that the status of a Christian can cost a man’s life. Recently in our category “Global trends”, he spoke about the price you have to pay for the followers of Christ in Saudi Arabia.
MHN: David, what can you tell about the life of Christians in Saudi Arabia?
Dr. David curry, the head of the organization “Open doors USA”:
Christians in Saudi Arabia of serious pressure. There everything is under the control of the government. You cannot print the Bible, you can’t have a Bible, if you are a citizen of this country. This is problematic even for those who are not Saudi. Such people find it difficult to go to Church and read the Bible. In Saudi Arabia, the religious sphere of life is under the full control of the authorities. They look at all one-sided. That’s why they ended up in 12th place on our list of the most dangerous places for Christians. We believe that Saudi Arabia is a very problematic region, spreading the extremism of the Islamic faith over the last decade through the sponsorship of madrasas that teach Wahhabism. They sponsor a theology of hatred in Egypt, Africa and other parts of the world. Saudi Arabia plays an important role in the dissemination of Wahhabism, which brought us al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in recent years.
MHN: David, how many Christians live in Saudi Arabia? Do we have official data? And how many people there had converted from Islam to Christianity?
In fact, no one knows how many Christians in Saudi Arabia, because they are not allowed to speak publicly about it and to attend Church. We know that Christians have. We know that people want to have access to the Bible. There are ways that they use to circumvent the system and come into contact with the gospel. They do this through media forums, the Internet and other things. But they do so not because it is permitted by the Saudi government or culture. They are struggling with this as possible. Saudi Arabia is a difficult place for Christians. But again, the question is not only what is happening in Saudi Arabia, but the person she is sponsoring. A lot of authorities get away with it due to the fact that they are a US ally. We are trying to put pressure on them in the matter of religious freedom. But I think we need to go further to the country’s leadership has expanded the freedom of a religious nature in Saudi Arabia. Their neighbor, Bahrain, has already made some steps in the right direction. I believe that Saudi Arabia should follow his example. I hope that this will become part of the discussion when they are facing challenges in the political sphere.
MHN: We know that it is dangerous to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia. But what about preaching the gospel? How difficult is it to carry the gospel in this country and how churches do it?
In many parts of the Muslim world like in Saudi Arabia, there is the underground Church, in which believers personally share their stories, and the Bible are transmitted secretly. There are organizations that want people to have the freedom to read the Bible and to decide for themselves what they believe in Saudi Arabia and in other parts of the world. That’s the main thing. I believe that US citizens do not understand that most people on earth do not have the freedoms that we have in our country. And we see this in the case of Saudi Arabia. If you have a Bible, you can expel from the family, to make an outcast and even killed. The Saudi government has created a system that tries to crush the Church. That’s his plan. But the churches continue to work underground, in secret. The underground Church has throughout the Middle East. And the same applies to Saudi Arabia.
We really should pray for the security of the Church in Saudi Arabia. The heading “Global trends” allows viewers not only to learn about different countries, but also talks about how to pray about them.