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Saudi Arabia Deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for Practicing Their Faith

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Aug 04
  • Comments

On August 1, Saudi Arabia deported the last of 35 Ethiopian Christians arrested and detained for holding an all-night prayer vigil at a private home on December 15, 2011, International Christian Concern reports. Saudi officials originally accused them of "mixing with opposite gender," but when pressured by U.S. officials, they started giving other reasons for the detention, including being in the country illegally and engaging in drug and human trafficking. Saudi security officials assaulted, harassed and pressured the Christians to convert to Islam during their incarceration, but finally released them after international efforts, petitions and protests led by ICC. "We have arrived home safe [and] we believe that we are released as the result of the pressure exerted by ICC and others," one of the prisoners said. "The Saudi officials don't tolerate any other religions other than Islam. They consider non-Muslims as unbelievers. They are full of hatred towards non-Muslims." Jonathan Racho of ICC said: "Saudi Arabian officials clearly demonstrated their utter disregard for religious freedom by arresting, mistreating and deporting the Christians for holding a prayer meeting. The Saudis deceive the international community by pretending to promote tolerance among followers of different religious beliefs; however, in reality they don't tolerate any other religion besides Wahhabi Islam."