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While attending a worship service in the private rented home of a fellow believer, 53 Ethiopian Christians were arrested by Saudi authorities in Dammam, the capital of the country’s Eastern Province. The incident, which took place at about 10 am on 8 February 2013, included the arrests of three church leaders. During a hearing in an Islamic court, authorities alleged that the leaders were converting Muslims to Christianity.

In an annual 2012 report, published recently by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, is the following statement which accurately summarises the country’s overall situation: “The Saudi government persists in banning all forms of public religious expression other than that of the government’s own interpretation of one school of Sunni Islam; prohibits churches, synagogues, temples, and other non-Muslim places of worship; uses in its schools and posts online state textbooks that continue to espouse intolerance and incite violence….” Source: Religious Liberty Commission