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» 02/20/2013
SAUDI ARABIA - ETHIOPIA
Saudi Arabia: 53 Ethiopian Christians arrested for praying in a private home
46 are women, and most likely face deportation. The authorities have accused them of converting Muslims to Christianity. There is no religious freedom in the country: the monarchy allows private worship of other faiths, but the religious police carry out indiscriminate arrests.

Damman (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saudi Arabia has arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians - 46 women and six men - for holding a prayer meeting in a private home. Police officials have sealed the house and taken the faithful away, accusing the three religious leaders present of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity. The incident occurred at Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of the Kingdom, and dates to February 8, but local sources, linked to the World Evangelical Alliance's Religious Liberty Commission (WEA-Rlc) recently reported the news.

According to the WEA-RLC, Saudi authorities should release two of the Christians who hold residency permits. In all likelihood, all the others will be deported.

Saudi Arabia does not recognize, or protect, any religious expression other than Islam. The religious police (muttawa) carries out controls to eliminate the presence of Bibles, rosaries, Crosses  and Christian assemblies. And even if the royal family allows religious practices other than Islam, at least in private, muttawa agents tend not to differentiate.

This is not the first episode of religious persecution against the Ethiopian community. In December 2011, the Saudi authorities arrested 35 Ethiopian Christians, 29 of them women, charging them with "illegal socialization." In this case, the faithful were detained in the middle of a prayer meeting in a private home in Jeddah. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the imprisoned women were subjected to arbitrary "medical inspections".

The city of Dammam, where the accident occurred on February 8, is a major industrial center and port, rich in oil and natural gas.


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See also
02/05/2011 ETHIOPIA-ISLAM
Islamic radicals attack Christians in Ethiopia and force them to convert
03/12/2011 ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia: Muslim radicals burn twelve Protestant churches. One dead, dozens injured
06/09/2012 SAUDI ARABIA
Jeddah: 35 Ethiopian Christians still in prison after praying in a private home
07/26/2010 SAUDI ARABIA
Islamic scholars: if the veil is banned, Muslim women may uncover their face
02/09/2005 US - VIETNAM - SAUDI ARABIA
US Commission calls for sanctions against Vietnam and Saudi Arabia for violating religious freedom

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ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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