Under the absolute monarchy of Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia is governed by a strict observance of Islamic law (sharia).
Occupying most of the Arabian peninsula, the nation of Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to the religion’s two most holy cities: Mecca and Medina. With such strong historic roots to Islam, the nation fiercely guards its Muslim heritage by suppressing all other religions.
The Government bases its legitimacy on governance according to the precepts of the rigorously strict interpretation of the Salafi or Wahhabi school of the Sunni branch of Islam. The nation’s constitution, derived from 18th-century Sunni scholar Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, sustains a totalitarian regime in which women are forbidden to drive cars, teeth are forcibly extracted under the law of retaliation, women are forbidden to be seen in public without permission, thieves are crucified or mutilated and abused women have little or no protection in the courts.
Christianity in Saudi Arabia
Large portions of the area comprising Saudi Arabia were Christian until the 7th to 10th century, when Christians were either forced to convert to Islam or driven out of the land. Today, the church is virtually non-existent, and the native Christians who do exist live in constant fear of their lives.
Although the government officially recognizes the right of non-Muslims to worship in private, the public practice of non-Muslim worship is prohibited. All citizens of Saudi Arabia are required to be Muslim while the law considers all children of male citizens to be Muslim, even if their parents are Christian.
It is a crime punishable by death for a Muslim to convert. When a Saudi converts to Christianity, their family members and relatives believe it is their sacred duty to practice honor killings and to murder the convert. Converts who are not murdered by their family will usually fall into the hands of the mutawwa’in – Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police, who hand converts over for lashing, torture, deportation and sometimes even be-heading.
Source: Open Doors USA
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