Persecution of Ex-Muslims (Saudi Arabia)

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Imprisoned Saudi convert to Christianity, not the only Saudi Christian in jail

A Saudi citizen whos converted to Christianity has been arrested and jailed, AsiaNews reports.

Emad Alaabadi was taken into custody last November 29, at Hofuf, a town in eastern Saudi Arabia, but the news was reported only a few days ago by the International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington-based human rights group. AsiaNews local sources have confirmed the report, and also say that he “is not the only Saudi Christian in jail at the moment: there are also others.”

On December 4, Amad managed to contact his mother by telephone. The mother reported that he sounded very weak: ICC said that the Muttawa agents probably tortured him, seeking to reconvert him to Islam.

Fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam is the only expression of religion allowed in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi convert to Christianity imprisoned
Catholic Culture, December 17, 2004

Member of the Muttawa (religious police) cuts off his daughters tongue and burns her to death for her conversion to Christianity

The sentence could not be appealed: guilty for converting to Christianity, a young Saudi woman was set alight by her father, who first had cut her tongue.

Not an ordinary father, but a member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Against Vice [the Muttawa], a sort of police watching over the moral behaviour of the citizens of Saudi Arabia and the full compliance with the rules of the rigid Wahabi doctrine, by using whiplashes on the legs for too high heels and arresting men and women not linked by marriage or family bonds for meetings in restaurants.

To the injury of the conversion, the woman had added also the insult of the written word, by writing articles with Christian-religious content on blogs and regional websites. The brutal news reported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s daily Gulf News reflects the reality of Saudi Arabia, a conservative and intransigent country, and throws ice-cold water on the image of an oil kingdom which says to be ready to open up partially to other religions, an image painted by the recent gestures of the king Abdallah Bin Abdelaziz.
. . .

The father of the burnt alive Saudi woman, as reported by sources close to the victim, is investigated for “honour killing” and not “murder”, a motif which if acknowledged, might lead to a sentence of up to three years in prison, because caused by the necessity to “wash the shame of dishonour” fallen on the entire family, for the unbecoming behaviour of the daughter.

Authorities detain blogger for publicly writing about his conversion from Islam to Christianity on his website

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have detained a 28-year-old blogger, Hamoud Bin Saleh, for publicly writing about his conversion from Islam to Christianity on his website.

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) says Saleh was arrested on January 13, 2008, and detained at the Eleisha political prison in Riyadh due to “his opinions and announcement at his blog that he converted from Islam to Christianity,” according to a report by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

ICC says that in addition to harassing him by detaining him two other times for similar offenses, the Saudi officials have now blocked Bin Saleh’s blog, “Masihi Saudi,” at .

The ANHRI report cited by ICC further notes that Bin Saleh’s previous release from prison in November of 2008 coincided with the Saudi-initiated interfaith dialogue held at the United Nations in New York, suggesting that his release came only because his arrest might have “tarnished its image” and “expose[d] the Saudi government’s false allegations.”

Immediately following the conference, the ANHRI report indicated that Saudi officials chose to re-arrest Bin Saleh “because the entire world is busy following up on the aggression on Gaza, and the Saudi authorities may seize the chance to make an example with nobody watching.”

ICC says: “Bin Saleh’s case is especially urgent in that we know that this is not the first time that Saudi converts from Islam to Christianity have suffered terrible mistreatment.”
Saudi Arabia Arrests Christian Blogger for Conversion Publicity
Michael Ireland, ASSIST News, January 31, 2008

Interpol and Swedish authorities aid hunt for female who fled the country after "illegally" converting from Islam to Christianity, 2 men arrested and charged with "complicity in her conversion and escape"

In late July Saudi media reported that a Saudi woman named Maryam (28) had illegally both embraced Christianity and fled the country. Her family have charged two men — a Lebanese and a Saudi national — with complicity in her conversion and escape. The men will face court on 15 September. Whilst a woman claiming to be Maryam told an Arabic TV channel that she was converted through a dream and has found peace in Christianity, Saudi media maintain it is all either fraud or coercion. The woman’s family has suggested she is a victim of human traffickers. Interpol is reportedly coordinating with the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm and Swedish authorities to find and return the ‘girl’ before her ‘kidnappers’ can move her to another country. Please pray.

Since late July Saudi media have been buzzing with reports that a 28-year-old Saudi woman has embraced Christianity and fled the country, staying initially in a church in Lebanon before moving on to Sweden. According to the Saudi Gazette, the woman, Maryam, appeared on an Arabic TV channel saying she was tired of performing prayers and fasting during Ramadan — rituals that never brought her any benefit. She also criticised Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. She claimed to have been converted through a dream and said that though she was raised to hate Judaism and Christianity she has come to love those religions since finding peace in Christianity....

Prosecuting lawyer, Humood Al-Khaldi, said that whilst the penalty in Islam of death for apostasy is clear, ‘the roles played by the two men, the Saudi and Lebanese, in making the girl become Christian should be taken into consideration’. He said ‘the court should make sure first that the girl was coerced into converting to Christianity and fleeing the country’. According to Gulf News, ‘Most Saudis reacting to the Khobar woman saga . . . have been calling for stringent action against the Lebanese and Saudi nationals for their alleged roles in the case, claiming that they were “well aware of the consequences of their act”.’...

On 2 September the Saudi Gazette reported that ‘Interpol is co-ordinating with the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm and Swedish authorities to return the girl to her homeland before her “kidnappers” move her to another country.’ The embassy reportedly has started a search for the woman, with the aid of Swedish authorities.
Interpol and Swedish authorities aid Saudi Embassy to hunt convert
Elizabeth Kendal, Continental News, September 5, 2012

Saudi website editor could face death for apostasy

The editor of a Saudi Arabian website could be sentenced to death after a judge cited him for apostasy and moved his case to a higher court, the monitoring group Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

Raif Badawi, who started the Free Saudi Liberals website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in June, Human Rights Watch said.

Badawi had initially been charged with the less serious offense of insulting Islam through electronic channels, but at a December 17 hearing a judge referred him to a more senior court and recommended he be tried for apostasy, the monitoring group said.

Apostasy, the act of changing religious affiliation, carries an automatic death sentence in Saudi Arabia, along with crimes including blasphemy.

Badawi's website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures, the monitoring group said.
Saudi website editor could face death for apostasy
The Jerusalem Post, December 22, 2012