Leader: King Abdullah
Population: 29.9 million (1.25 million Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
World Watch List Rank: 6
In Saudi Arabia Islam is the only religion allowed and conversion to another faith is viewed as a crime punishable by death. In 2013 police raided several Christian migrant fellowships and thousands of worshippers were detained or deported.
Christians from Muslim backgrounds live in constant danger, as they will face an honour killing if found out. But despite this a small but growing number of Muslims are finding Jesus and sharing their faith with the world on the internet and satellite TV.
Islamic practice is deeply rooted in the country’s culture, with the desert kingdom controlling the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The country is home to a large presence of extremists, and is the main source of funding for Sunni terrorism around the world.
Most Christians here are expatriates from India and the Philippines, as well as others from Africa and the West. As well as being exploited, Christian Asian and African workers are regularly victims of verbal and physical violence. Saudi employers often threaten foreign workers with physical abuse unless they convert to Islam.
Some converts in the country practise their faith in secret for protection. Many have responded to Christian satellite TV or a vision or dream in which God has revealed Himself to them. Although internet access is quite controlled, locals are still able to access some Christian materials.
Despite the severe consequences if they are found out, many of these secret believers are becoming more expressive about their faith, sharing testimonies online and on Christian TV channels.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.