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Saudi Arabia Deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for Prayer Vigil

Group has been imprisoned since December.

A group of 35 Ethiopian Christians were finally deported from Saudi Arabia last week after being arrested and detained since December 2011 for holding a prayer meeting.

The 29 women and six men were arrested after Saudi security officials raided the home of one of the Ethiopians while they were holding an "all-night prayer vigil."

International Christian Concern and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom report that the Christians were physically and sexually "assaulted, harassed, and pressured" to convert to Islam while imprisoned for more than seven months, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The State Department has listed Saudi Arabia as a "country of particular concern" since 2004 in its annual International Religious Freedom Report.

Saudi Arabia also regularly ranks high on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where Christians are the most persecuted.

Meanwhile, Saudi officials arrested two men in July accused of "forcibly converting" a female colleague to Christianity after giving her books on religion and inviting her to follow a religious chat room. The young woman's father filed the charges after she refused to denounce Christianity and return home after fleeing to Lebanon.

CT has reported on Saudi Arabia's intolerance toward minority religions, including when a top Saudi cleric recently declared that all churches in the Arabian Peninsula should be destroyed.

Related Topics:Middle East
Posted:August 10, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Saudi Arabia Deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for Prayer Vigil