OVERVIEW: The birthplace of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad is home to some of Islam’s wealthiest and most devoted followers. However, in the past decade, some of the population has developed a mistrust of Islam and its leaders. TV programs and websites targeting Saudi audiences, as well as social media, travel abroad and exposure to faithful Christians outside and inside the country, have introduced Christ to many. Numerous Saudis have taken what they have learned and compared it side by side with Islam, resulting in some feeling deceived by and extremely disappointed in Islam. Therefore, Saudis are more open to the gospel now than ever before. Many are laboring to reach locals, but many more workers are needed.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: The majority of the population is Sunni Muslim, with a small population of Shiites.
PERSECUTOR: Families, communities and the government severely persecute Christian converts from Islam and work to restrict evangelism and Bible distribution.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most restricted and difficult environments for Christians, especially those who convert from Islam. Non-Muslims cannot be granted Saudi citizenship, and non-Islamic places of worship are not permitted. One church is allowed, but it is exclusively for foreigners. Christians are more likely to be killed by a family member than to be imprisoned.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: It is illegal to possess a Bible. However, some Saudi converts are willing to take the risk of owning one. Many Saudis are accessing the Scriptures online and through various technologies.
VOM WORK: VOM helps seekers who express an interest in Christianity through various media and provides aid for some Christian converts from Islam.