On 27 September Saudi Arabia opened its doors to tourists for the first time with the launch of a tourist e-visa; but Christian tourists should be aware that displaying a Bible in public or taking more than one Bible into the country, could place them at risk of arrest.
Bibles must not be displayed in public and anyone found bringing a large number of Bibles will face “severe penalties”. The new regulations for tourists state that a Bible may be brought into the country provided it is for personal use only.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam and it is impossible for anyone living in the country to openly practice Christianity.
There are hundreds of thousands of Christians from other nations, such as the Philippines, other parts of Asia, or African countries, who are living and working in Saudi Arabia.
But they must meet in private homes to devotion; and risk harassment, arrest and deportation if they are caught doing so. The Saudi citizens who convert to Christianity face risk of execution by the state for apostasy if their conversion becomes known.