Arrests Increase After Gulf War

Persecution of Christians and Shi’ites has grown in Saudi Arabia since the end of the Gulf War, according to Amnesty International. Hundreds have been arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia, and scores have been tortured or mistreated.

In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslim worship is banned, and the possession of non-Muslim religious material—such as crosses and Bibles—has led to arrests. One Christian arrested at a prayer meeting told Amnesty International, “[The interrogators] would punch us and become angry when we told them that we believed Christ was the Son of God and our personal Savior.” Most of the 329 Christian worshipers arrested since August 1990 are nationals of Asian countries. Shi’ah Muslims also are subjected to imprisonment, torture, and attempts at forced conversion.

Wary Christians Remain Hopeful

The vulnerability of Russian evangelicalism became evident in October as the government sank into violence a short distance from the annual meeting of Russian Baptists, who have opened a new five-story headquarters. The building will also house the Moscow Baptist Theological Seminary for its first two years.

Aides to President Boris Yeltsin promised the assembled Baptists a role in rebuilding the country, but Yeltsin will have to remain in power in order to fulfill that promise. Christian Bridge president Mikhail Morgulis, who attended the Baptist meeting, says a power struggle between Yeltsin and the provinces is likely to continue.

“Because the army defended Yeltsin during this October conflict, he is now obligated to them and has to listen to them,” says Morgulis. If provincial leaders rebel, “then Yeltsin will use the army to crush them, and this will be the end of evangelical ...

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