Saudi Arabia declares destruction of all churches in region

Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, says, “The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia–the top Islamic official in the country of Saudi Arabia–has declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.'” Nettleton goes on to note that the report hasn’t surfaced anywhere except on the Council on Foreign Relations Web site, which was then picked up by The Atlantic.

Ranked second on the Open Doors World Watch List (a compilation of the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most severe), the news is not really a surprise. There is no provision for religious freedom in the constitution of this Islamic kingdom.

All citizens must adhere to Islam, and conversion to another religion is punishable by death. Public Christian worship is forbidden; worshipers risk imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and torture. Evangelizing Muslims and distributing non-Islamic materials is illegal. Muslims who convert to Christianity risk honor killings and foreign Christian workers have been exposed to abuse from employers.