According to a Voice of the Martyrs spokesperson, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the region.” He supposedly made this blatant assertion in a meeting with Kuwaiti officials. When asked by the officials what the Sharia position was on Churches, he replied, “There should be no Christian Churches in the Arabian Peninsula.”
The Islamic official’s statement comes as no surprise to observers in the region. Saudi Arabia is ranked second in the World Watch List of Persecutors of Christian Believers. The constitution does not allow religious freedom. The Wahabi government persecutes members of other faiths, including Shi’ite Muslims.
Public Christian worship is prohibited. Believers who gather to worship God often risk imprisonment, torture, and deportation. Members of their own family kill Muslims who convert to Christianity, for they are seen as having brought dishonor to their family.
Authorities do not allow the existence of Church buildings in Saudi Arabia. Hence, the Grand Mufti’s assertions do appear to imply an anti-Christian ideology for the surrounding countries as well.
Even as Christian Leaders from around the world expressed displeasure at the Grand Mufti’s comments, the loudest criticism came from other Muslims. The AhlulBayt World Assembly denounced the Grand Mufti’s suggestions in a statement that pointed out that through the ages adherents of the Christian faith and Muslims have coexisted. In the same statement published by Ahlul Bayt News Agency, the organization said, “(T)herefore it is not only condemned by Shiite Muslims, but Sunni Muslims are also appalled.”
The Grand Mufti’s suggestion received overwhelming rejection. Yet it could affect Churches and Christian Believers in Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
There are Believers in Saudi Arabia who constantly put themselves in harm’s way to follow and proclaim Jesus Christ. In the face of such threats they continually share the Gospel in non-traditional ways.
Pray for God’s protection over Believers in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula even as they carry the Gospel to inhospitable places (The Bible, Romans 8:28).
Pray that Muslims will come to know Jesus Christ through other Believers or through dreams and visions (The Bible, Mark 16:15).