Nearly 30 Arrested in Saudi Arabia, Including Children, in Anti-Christian Sweep

Islamist police raided a Christian prayer meeting in Khafji, Saudi Arabia—a city on the border with Kuwait—and arrested the entire congregation, made up of 28 Christian men, women and even children, according to reports. Officers from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice confiscated several Bibles and various musical instruments and took the group in the middle of their worship. No reports of the congregation’s whereabouts or condition have been received. Human rights activists—including Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.—are demanding intervention by the U.S. government.

“Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy,” Shea told FoxNews.com. “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.”

Secretary of State John Kerry plans to visit Saudi Arabia this week in hopes of garnering support from Saudi King Abdullah in the fight against the terrorist group ISIS. Shea wrote that she hopes Kerry will bring up this incident in their discussion.
 
“Such actions are especially dangerous in the current situation, where the world is seeing the rise of extreme Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and elsewhere,” said Shea. “The West should demand that its strategic ally, Saudi Arabia, release the Christians at once and allow them to pray according to their own faith traditions. Otherwise, Riyadh will appear to be validating the practices of the Islamic State in northern Iraq and Syria.”
 
The Saudi government has denied any knowledge of the arrests, but The Saudi Gazette and other Arabic-language news outlets have reported on them.
 
 

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