|Christian Population||4.1% Christians in the country|
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is a strict Islamic nation. It’s the place of the holy cities, Mecca and Medina, and hosts millions of Hajj visitors every year. The legal system in the country is based on Sharia (Islamic) law, making it forbidden to openly practise a faith other than Islam. Leaving Islam is punishable by death.
At home, Christians risk honour-killings or violent attacks from their families and community. Legally, Muslim husbands can beat and divorce their wives if it’s discovered she has turned from Islam. Husbands can also take away her children and forbid her from seeing them. Consequently, Saudi converts, especially women, often keep their conversion secret and follow Jesus in isolation – forced to go through the motions of Muslim beliefs while holding tight to Jesus in their hearts.
Despite these challenges, the number of Saudi Christians is increasing. They’re finding Jesus through Christian TV programmes, dreams and visions.
“I was prepared to die for Jesus. But what I didn’t know was that I would have to die to myself every day from then on.”
– Noora* from Saudi Arabia.
Noora’s new faith in Jesus initially led to enthusiasm and a great sense of peace. But she soon realised the cost of following Jesus as a former Muslim.
*Name changed for security reasons.
Open Doors raises prayer support for believers in the Arabian Peninsula to help them stand strong as they undergo persecution for their faith in Jesus.