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Tags: Saudi Arabia | Christians | religious | police

Saudis Raiding Christian Gatherings

By    |   Monday, 15 September 2014 12:49 PM


Saudi Arabia's religious police launched a raid on a Christian prayer meeting this month and arrested more than 25 people, including women and children, after a neighbor called in a report of suspicious activity, reports The Saudi Gazette.

After the report that individuals were engaged in non-Islamic religious "rituals,"
the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) placed the house under surveillance and upon seeing a large number of people going into the house, "they immediately called for police backup and raided the house," the paper reported.

Government representatives denied knowledge of the Sept. 5 raid after inquiries by the Gazette.

Urgent: Do You Approve of Obama's Handling of Foreign Policy? Vote Here

The raid, during which the religious police confiscated copies of Bibles and various musical instruments, is causing concern among analysts and lawmakers, some of whom are calling on the Obama administration to take action.

“I hope our government will speak up,” Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia told FoxNews.com.

The Republican, who the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization which works to raise awareness about international human rights issues, added that the actions were not a surprise considering the Saudi regime “did not want our soldiers to wear crosses during the Desert Storm” operation in 1991.

The extreme measures adopted by the Haia simply confirms the "religious cleansing that has always been its official policy," says Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

"It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments," Shea said.

According to the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report for 2013, Saudi Arabia has been a "Country of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act" since 2004 as a result of their participation in "severe violations of religious freedom."

Some of the abuses against non-Muslims include sentencing a Lebanese man to six years in prison and 300 lashes for allegedly facilitating the conversion of a Saudi female to Christianity and helping her escape to Sweden, while a Saudi man, who was accused of being an accomplice, received a sentence of two years in prison and 200 lashes. Both men have been in detention since their arrest in July 2012.

In Saudi Arabia, even the smallest exhibitions Christianity merit sanctions by the Haia, a point which was made by Shea in a March 21st Wall Street Journal editorial.

She noted the "fanatical intolerance of everything Christian extends to a crackdown on red roses on Valentine’s Day."

In addition, she writes, European soccer teams who have cross logos are required to hide the cross, and the religious police even raided a holiday party in the American school in Riyadh, forcing Santa Claus "to jump through a window to escape religious police."

In 2013, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah opened a center for religious dialogue in Vienna and even sponsored an interfaith conference in Spain in 2008, reports The Daily Mail.

Urgent: Do You Approve of Obama's Handling of Foreign Policy? Vote Here

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Saudi Arabia's religious police launched a raid on a Christian prayer meeting this month and arrested more than 25 people, including women and children, after a neighbor called in a report of suspicious activity.
Saudi Arabia, Christians, religious, police
541
2014-49-15
Monday, 15 September 2014 12:49 PM
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