by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – It is estimated that there are around 1.2 million Christians living in Saudi Arabia, although citizens’ conversion from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death, Christian Headlines reports. Most believers in Saudi Arabia are Filipino expatriates who are allowed to work in the country, but are not citizens.
All citizens of Saudi Arabia are at least officially Muslim: Saudi law does not permit citizens to follow other faiths. A form of religious police, the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice works to ensure citizens do not practice any religion other than Islam.
Conversion from Islam is considered “apostasy,” and requires the apostate to renounce his new faith or face execution.
Christian foreign workers are allowed to enter the country to work, but clerics of other religions are not allowed into Saudi Arabia to plant churches or perform religious ceremonies. Accordingly, there are no churches in the country: Christians meet in their homes or in private groups online.
A 2015 study estimates that around 60,000 Muslims in Saudi Arabia actually converted to Christianity between 1960 and 2015, although the study does not specify if these converts were foreign nationals or Saudi citizens.
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