Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula
Political Leader: King and P.M. Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud
Predominant Religions: Islam 92.8%, Christianity 4.5%
Persecution Ranking: 2nd
Number of Terrorist Groups: 5
Acts of Terrorism: 65; Casualties: 314
Percent of Corruption: 67%
% of People in Poverty: Not Ranked
Saudi Arabia is an Islamic nation located on the Arabian Peninsula, covering most of that land mass. One of the most religious and insular countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has emerged from being an underdeveloped desert kingdom to becoming one of the wealthiest nations in the region thanks to vast oil resources.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the least-evangelized nations on earth. The birthplace of Islam 1300 years ago, Saudi Arabia is entrusted with guardianship of Islam's most sacred sites. The city of Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed, hosts Islam’s holiest mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram, and is the destination of pilgrimage (called the hajj) for Muslims around the world. The Ka’ba, a small, black, cubic structure in the courtyard of the mosque, houses the Black Stone, one of Islam’s most revered artifacts. This stone, which was sacred in pre-Islamic times as well, is viewed by many Muslims as just a marker – a convenient way of keeping track of the number of times they have walked around the Ka’ba during their time in Mecca, a ritual which requires seven revolutions. Other Muslims attribute more supernatural power to the stone and believe that it holds the power to cleanse from sin those who would kiss it. When Muslims face Mecca to pray five times daily, they are really facing the Ka’ba, and thus the Black Stone.
Challenges for Christians:
Under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic law, apostasy (leaving Islam) is punishable by death. Public non-Muslim worship is prohibited, although members of the royal family insist that Christians are free to worship in their own homes. Practice has proven otherwise. The total number of arrested Christians during the past year was lower than in 2005, when as many as 70 expatriate Christians were arrested. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia holds a firm second place on Open Door’s World Watch List of nations who most persecute Christians.
- Pray for freedom for Saudis to choose their own religion. There is only one officially recognized religion (Islam), and conversion to any other religion is punishable by execution.
- Pray against the spirits of domination and control, strongly associated with Islam, which permeate the culture and religious laws.
- Pray against the intrusion and bullying of the muttawa, the religious police, which have broad powers to arrest, interrogate, and torture in the name of maintaining "purity of religion." Ask the Lord to shut down this branch of the government administrated by the Ministry of the Interior under Prince Nayf.
- Pray that the Lord would weaken the Islam's grip over key regions in the nation especially renowned for their fanaticism to this religion. Pray especially for the cities of Mecca and Medina and the Qasim Region – the “Qur'an Belt" of the nation which includes Riyadh, the capital.
- Pray that the Lord would open the eyes of the millions of pilgrims who visit Mecca each year. Many come away describing the experience as the most spiritually fulfilling experience of their lives. Ask the Lord to open their spiritual eyes to the hollowness of these empty rituals and their demonically reinforced lies.
- Pray for the Lord to blunt and shut down the effects of the pervasive spirits of fear and distrust manifested throughout various aspects of the culture. These spiritual forces and their various manifestations are closely associated with Islam in the region.
Bethany World Prayer Center’s Global 12 Project, Middle East Concern, Arab World Ministries, Shake The Heavens, The World Factbook