Christian persecution in Saudi Arabia is severe. There is little – if any – religious freedom. One example of this is that proclamation is not tolerated and there are no recognized places of worship for persecuted Christians. However, most expatriate Christians experience few religiously-motivated problems provided their fellowships do not disturb neighbors with excessive noise or cause problems with parking.
Some migrants are mistreated by their employers, as are some migrant workers who are Muslims. Saudis who follow Jesus need to be careful about how they related to family, neighbors and colleagues. There is no official recognition of their religious beliefs. Some face severe pressures if their choice is known.
It is rare – but not unknown – for the state to act as a persecutor, illustrated by occasional examples of disciples being detained. The state will, though, grant impunity to families taking severe measures against one of their members for allegiance to Jesus.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
“The Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] does not restrict non-Muslims to practice their religion in private . . . although as the cradle of Islam Saudi Arabia cannot formally host churches, non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia enjoy freedom of worship and can practice the rituals of their religions in their own places.”
— Vice President of the National Human Rights Commission
History of Christianity
Christianity arrived at Pentecost. There was a Christian presence in the early centuries of Christianity. Islam emerged in Saudi Arabia during the seventh century, when the religious context included Christian and Jewish communities as well as adherents of primal religions. Fairly rapidly, Islam became dominant and adherents of other faiths became fewer.
Today, the Christians among the migrant workers meet to worship in numerous informal fellowships, some of which are able to rent property as a place of worship, others are provided spaces for worship by employers.