It was December 15th, 2011 and a group of Christians were praying at a private home Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; it was part of their weekly prayer gathering. But that particular Thursday was different because it was the day Saudi Arabian officials discovered about the underground prayer gathering. At first, the security forces seemed to be friendly; they even let the Christians finish their prayers. Then they took the twenty-nine female and six male Christians to their office. The securities promised the Christians that they would release them after brief investigation. Unfortunately, the Christians still remain behind bars.
In a recent interview with the Voice of America’s Amharic language interview, one of the female Christian prisoners recounts the ordeal they went through simply because of their faith in Christ. The prisoner said:
They (the Saudi security officials) took us to their office at 2 am in the night. We spent the night in their office. Then in the morning, they put us in a very cold room. There is a restroom within that room and it is very stinky. There are insects in the room. In the night, they took us to a waiting room at Briman jail. When we arrived, they started to insult, harass and push us around. Then they started to search us. They took off all our clothes, including our underwear. Then they inserted their fingers into our genitals. They used the same hand glove to search about ten of us. Then they threw away our clothes and gave us pajamas to wear.
The plight of our brothers and sisters has continued. When ICC called them on February 7 to inquiry about their situation, a female prisoner spoke about Saudi officials pressuring the Christian prisoners to convert to Islam. The Saudis sent a preacher who gathered the prisoners and vilified Christianity and the Bible. The preacher told the Christians to convert to Islam because “Islam is the only true religion.” Despite such pressure the Christians refused compromising on their faith.
We at ICC have continued to raise our voice on behalf of our brothers and sisters. We are asking all concerned to sign this petition on behalf of the prisoners. We are also organizing a protest rally demanding the Saudis to release the Christians. The rally will be held on February 21st at 10 am in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy located at 601 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington D.C. If you live in Washington D.C. area, please join us! The Bible clearly tells us that we are the same body of Christ and commands us to “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering,” Hebrew 13:3. Also pray for our imprisoned brothers and sisters. Pray for their release and that they stay encouraged in their faith.