From the report on the persecutions of Christians
Countries of particular concern
According to the Aid to the Church in Need, despite the pressure of the international communities the governments of the Muslim countries are not able to conduct politics of respect for the fundamental principles guaranteeing religious freedom. Although Algeria’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion but at the same time it recognises Islam as its state religion. The Catholic Church and Protestant communities are recognised by the state but have no right to activities aiming at conversion from Islam to Christianity. The constitution of Bahrain states that Islam is its state religion and the Shariat is the source of law. The Moroccans can be only Muslims. A change of religion from Islam is basically impossible and punished by law. An increase in violence because of religious beliefs in the Arab countries inclined Pope Benedict XVI to utter the words about the growth of anti-Christian aggression in Egypt, Iraq and Eritrea in December 2010 during the prayer of Angelus. In 2009 the Eritrean pastor Yemane Gebriel was forced to leave the country after having received many threats from the religious police. For ten years pastor Gebriel was the head of the underground religious community of over 300 believers. According to the report the bomb attempts in Iraq show that one can speak about regular persecutions of Christ’s Church in this country. In Yemen kidnappings of Christians are every common. Recently there have been many violent attacks of the extremists against foreigners suspected of attempts to convert Muslims. According to the constitution ‘the law guarantees religious freedom to all people’ but in fact only Christian foreigners can use it. In Saudi Arabia many Christians have been arrested for the last two years. In some cases the information about the arrests was not given to the press in the countries from which they came from to guarantee a positive result of negotiations as far as their release was concerned. Saudi Arabia forbids construction of churches and other non-Muslim sanctuaries, carrying religious symbols and religious pictures at homes. Its local religious police make rigid controls to impose the laws of the Shariat on all citizens and guests. Like Iran, Saudi Arabia uses death sentence for apostasy and the so-called proselitism, i.e. public missionary activities. Additionally, Christians must endure horrible working conditions, living in constant threat of being forced to convert to Islam. In 2009 the US State Department again mentioned Saudi Arabia as ‘CPC,’ a country of particular concern because of serious violations of religious freedom.
(wd) Based on the report of the Aid to the Church in Need ‘Persecuted and Forgotten’ on the persecutions of Christians in the years 2009-2010.