As if to solidify the secular turn Saudi Arabia appears to be making, a sculpture, said to resemble a cross, has been demolished in the central province of Qassim. The sculpture has stood for 25 years and was demolished at the request of local residents in a direct attack against Christianity. While some Christian practices have taken place, mosques are currently the only legal locations for religious acts and worship.
4/19/2017 Saudi Arabia (New York Daily) – One of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative provinces has demolished a towering concrete sculpture in response to complaints by residents that it resembled a Christian cross, prompting a local commentator on Tuesday to criticize the move as possible blowback for recent reforms.
State-linked local news sites, including NewsQassim.com, reported that the municipal office for the landlocked, central province of Qassim took down the sculpture last Friday.
Videos and photos posted on social media and local news sites showed the sculpture in ruins after demolition by bulldozers in Qassim’s provincial capital of Buraydah, 220 miles (350 kilometers) northwest of the country’s capital, Riyadh.
The surprise move comes as the kingdom pivots toward greater embrace of the arts by holding for the first time in decades musical concerts in its major cities, including an orchestra performance from Japan last week.