Christians Traveling to Saudi Arabia Risk Arrest if They Publicly Display Bible

Muslims gather around the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 6, 2016. | Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

Christians traveling to Saudi Arabia are being warned not to publicly display their Bible while in the country or travel with more than one copy of the text, despite the kingdom’s recent openness to tourism.

The Christian persecution watchdog group Barnabus Fund released a statement Monday warning individuals that having a Bible can still put them at risk of arrest.

“Christian visitors should be aware that displaying a Bible in public, or taking more than one Bible into the country, could place them at risk of arrest,” the group cautioned.

“The new regulations for tourists state that a Bible may be brought into the country provided it is for personal use only. Bibles must not be displayed in public and anyone found bringing a large number of Bibles will face ‘severe penalties.’”

Barnabus went on to explain that the Saudi Arabian government follows a strict interpretation of Islam and that openly practicing Christianity in the kingdom is forbidden.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Christians from other nations, such as the Philippines, other parts of Asia, or African countries, who are living and working in Saudi Arabia,” the group added.

“But they must meet in private homes to worship, and risk harassment, arrest and deportation if they are caught doing so. Saudi citizens who convert to Christianity face risk of execution by the state for apostasy if their conversion becomes known.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski