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Saudi Arabia's vigilante religious police raided a private Christian worship service in Riyadh on January 7, arresting 15 of the estimated 100 persons gathered in a private home, including the small children of two families.According to sources in the Saudi Arabian capital, the muttawa (Islamic police) interrupted the Friday afternoon service, which was being conducted by Filipino Christians in a private villa, on a tip from a Filipino Muslim who infiltrated the group.In Manila, church associates of the arrested Christians gave the following names of those under detention: Dick Mira Velez, Diosdado Cadoy, Jun and Evelyn Vinegas with two children, ages unknown; Art and Isabelita Sabalista with three children, ages 12, 9, and 3; Rubino Sulit, Jeorge and Elen Rivera, and Eminesio Rabea.The raid and arrest occurred on the first of five days of an official Muslim holiday celebrating the end of the Ramadan month of fasting.Although the Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Manila confirmed today it had been notified of the arrests, its Riyadh embassy was not expected to make official inquiries about the case until offices reopened on January 12, after the Ramadan holidays.

Christian Engineer Still Being Held

Meanwhile, Filipino Christian Edmar Romero remains under police arrest in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province today, six weeks after Dammam authorities detained him for alleged Christian activities.But his wife Arsenia, who was last allowed to visit him on January 5, said her husband had been told to expect his formal release paper to be issued "at the latest within three days" to mark the Muslim holidays ending the Ramadan month of fasting.Romero was picked up the night of December 1 by Saudi police, who searched his home ...

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Riyadh Police Raid Christian Worship Service
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January 2000

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