Christians living in Saudi Arabia are under a very strict Islamic regime. All outward displays of the faith are forbidden and Christians have to be aware of Sharia Law, which is the justice system of the state. There aren’t any native Christians, and all followers of the faith are foreign workers in the country.
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Here are 10 facts on Christians in Saudi Arabia:
1. There are 1.2 million Christians in Saudi Arabia and make up about 4.4 percent of the total population.
2. Najran on the southern tip of Saudi Arabia was the first Christian city in the region. Hannan or Hanyan converted his family to Christianity and founded the first church in the city during the early part of the fifth century.
3. In 520A.D. Yusuf, King of the Himyarites wanted to convert the region to Judaism and laid siege to the city. When the siege lifted his forces murdered all Christians who refused to convert. In all over 200 Christians were martyred.
4. The oldest standing Christian church in the world is located at Jubail in Saudi Arabia and is thought to date from the fourth century. The ruin is partially excavated and is protected by the Saudi Department of Antiquities.
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5. Saudi Arabia is reportedly the 12 most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian.
6. There are no churches for Saudi Arabia Christians to worship. The public practice of all non-Muslim religions is prohibited. This law is strictly enforced and threat of the death penalty has be used in recent court cases.
7. Saudi Christians can only celebrate Christmas and Easter in the privacy of their own homes.
8. All Christians are officially foreign workers, as Christianity is forbidden to Saudi citizens.
9. All outward displays of Christian symbols or of Christian celebration are banned in Saudi Arabia.
10. Preaching to non-Christians or attempting to convert Muslims to the Christian faith is punished severely under Sharia Law in Saudi Arabia.
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