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SAUDI ARABIA: Filipinos charged with 'proselytizing' after religious police raid Catholic Mass

_38423407_women_150_bbc It didn't take long before a private Roman Catholic Mass organized by expatriates in the capital of the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia was shut down.

As the service got underway at a hotel last week, officers from the feared religious police, also known as the Mutawa, barged onto the premises, shutting down the Mass and arresting 13 Filipinos, including a Catholic priest, Saudi media reports say.

The group was released on bail after being briefly detained at a nearby police station, but they are still facing serious criminal charges for allegedly organizing the Mass, the Arab News, a Saudi English daily, reported.

"They were charged with proselytizing," the newspaper quoted Ezzedin H. Tago, chargé d'affaires at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, as saying.

The rest of the approximately 150 expatriates caught up in the raid were reportedly let off the hook -- partly because there was not enough space at the police station to accommodate them.

It is estimated that more than 1 million Catholics live in Saudi Arabia, many of whom are migrant workers from the Philippines.

The kingdom, home to some of Islam's holiest sites, considers the conversion of Muslims a serious offense, and the crime carries the death penalty. However, such verdicts are rarely handed down by the Saudi court system, controlled by Islamic clerics, according to the Reuters news agency

Because the kingdom applies a strict brand of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism, any non-Muslim worship must take place behind closed doors in non-Muslim homes only. For adherents of faiths other than Islam, worshipping or wearing religious symbols, such as crucifixes, in public could mean trouble. The last Christian priest was reportedly booted from Saudi Arabia in 1985.

However, there have been recent efforts aiming to bring more religious openness to Saudi Arabia. Two years ago, the Vatican and Saudi Arabia began talks about building the first church in the kingdom.

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Saudi Arabia's religious police enforce the country's strict dress code and clamp down on vice in the ultra-conservative kingdom. Most recently, its members raided a Catholic Mass, arresting 13. Credit: BBC

Comments () | Archives (15)

No churches in Saudi Arabia; No mosques in U.S.
Fair is fair.

The West is too politically correct for its own good and cannot state the truth or take sides. Just because two sides disagree does not mean the probability of truth lies 50/50, it could easily be 90/10. They show two sides of a debate, one with the most obscure view, as if they have equal claims to truth.
Anyway, at least this is showing up in the mainstream media, there are hundreds of acts like this going on constantly in Muslim majority countries.

When France put a ban on head scafe every one was happy, and every one told "when in Rome, do as the Romans Do" its the same answers back to you, "WHEN YOU ARE IN A MUSLIM COUNTRY BEHAVE YOUR SELF". If you want to stay here, stay as what we say to you or else leave.

All said and done, Saudi Arabia is not going to remain the same in the near future. Its society is waking up as the clergy progressively losing control on this citadel of conservative Islam. Read more at:

Mainstream media and other parallels, says; if we treat them the way they treated others, what is the difference between us and them.They may be right for now. We hope they continue to be right, when the inevitable happens -- when the guest shall out-numbered the host.

The Church got suckered and double crossed because it was induced into endorsing the construction of a super-Mosque in Rome paid for the by the Saudis under the guise of a quid-pro-quo for access to Catholic Mass in SA including building a church and the Saudis have obviously renegged on the deal. The Arabs got what they wanted for Muslims living in Rome, and the nice guys come in last.
Its really hard to believe 1mm Philipino Catholics (mostly) are working in SA with no real access to religious expression and no Palestinians are allowed to work there. The Saudis have the West coming and going!
They pressure the West by keeping the Muslim Palestinians impoverished by not offfering them work in SA while hiring foreign non-Muslims from alien cultures and distant lands, treating them badly by denying them their spiritual identity. What a bunch of stinkers!!!

Let's call a spade a spade. Saudi Arabia is a dual apartheid state - religious apartheid and gender apartheid. If they didn't have so much oil, does anyone doubt they would be targeted with a worldwide awareness campaign akin to the one South Africa endured?

Instant worldwide condemnation and violent protest against even the threat of burning a quran,


near silence a week after Christian worship was forcibly ended in Saudi Arabia.

Why is there no outrage at the double standard? Fear of Muslim retaliation? Lukewarm Christians? Secular indifference?

Wow. So open minded of them.

You have to wonder of the leaders of their religion are so unsure about it that they have to react so extremely to any competition. It is like when you meet someone who is extremely jealous. Behind it is always a deep insecurity and self loathing.

Tell some of the leftist idiots who go around hoping the only bit of light left in the Middle East is put out.

In order to charge them with proselytizing, wouldn't there have to have been Muslims there that they were trying to convert? If these were all Catholic foreign workers in attendance, what is the big deal? I'm tired of Saudi Arabia being so intolerant of other religions, yet they demand religious freedom wherever they go in the world.

Wahhabism,which is an extreme moslem movement originated in Saudi Arabia,has done more harm to real Islam and to educated moderate moslems than it did to any other party.In many countries in the Middle East, other than Saudi Arabia, you see mosques with neraby churches all over the place.Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia are not that much different from fanatic Jews in Israel who dance around a handcuffed Palestinian girl in stupid exuberance.

For adherents of faiths other than Islam, worshipping or wearing religious symbols, such as crucifixes, in public could mean trouble. The last Christian priest was reportedly booted from Saudi Arabia in 1985

And these are the guys who speak for freedom and liberty in Europe. Geert Wilders is exposing the Islamic hypocricy in Wurope. Even if the whole of Europe were to move extreme right, it will still be better than these theocracies.

Anyway where Islam is individual freedom and liberty disappears. Where Islam is human dignity is trampled upon.

It is okay to marry a child, but not ok to wear a crucifix. It is ok to starp bombsto your waist and kill, but not okay t0 worship. Wonder these Saudis should be meted out the same treatment in other countries and then they may learn some decency.

There is a simple, accurate name for this type of barbaric intolerance:


This is what Islam is like in Arab countries. This is why Israel does not want to give in to Arab countries.


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