Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia, where the legal system is based on Sharia law. Courts regularly impose severe physical punishments, including the death penalty, for apostasy, and non-Muslim places of worship are prohibited.
According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Saudi Arabia “remains uniquely repressive in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam”.
The government prosecutes, imprisons and flogs individuals for dissent, apostasy, blasphemy and sorcery, and imposes “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom”.
It’s not only religious people who are targeted. A law enacted in 2014 equates atheism with terrorism. The legislation bans “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of Islamic religion.”
There are, however, some 1.4 million Christians living in the country. According to a study earlier this year, 4.4 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s population identifies as Christian – up from less than 0.1. per cent (50 people) just over 100 years ago in 1910.
This article continues at [Christian Today] Muslims converting to Christianity in Saudi Arabia, despite intense persecution