Saudis are some of the most active users of social media in the Arab world. It is estimated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) currently has more than five million Twitter users. This is more than any other nation in the region. Facebook has over 7.8 million users in KSA alone.
Additionally, many Saudis download popular Apps (via Apple IOS and Android IOS) on a daily basis. According to a popular Saudi blogger, Saudis’ lives were isolated and, before the advent of social media, they did not know if other like-minded people existed in the world.
But this new freedom to use social media is still heavily policed. Turki al-Hamad paid a heavy price for a tweet. The novelist told his followers that Islam as practised in Saudi Arabia was not the “message of love” preached by the Prophet Muhammad. The outcome was six months in prison without trial.
The government is clearly concerned about the ways in which it will lose control, in this otherwise closely controlled nation, but the door now opened cannot be shut. Users of social media tackle myriads of subjects, including issues of justice and religious matters. While it still comes at a price, bloggers and tweeters have raised questions about the conservation religion practices in Saudi.
Pray for the use of social media as one of the tools for sharing faith with Saudi’s. Pray for app designers, content creators, follow-up. Pray for reaching out and discipling to creatively use these tools of today.