For the crime of conducting a Christian worship service. Islamic Tolerance Alert from Compass Direct:
June 15 (Compass Direct) — Ten Saudi Arabian police armed with wooden clubs raided a private Christian worship meeting in the coastal city of Jeddah on June 9, arresting four East African citizens leading the service.
At press time the two Ethiopian and two Eritrean Christians remained in the city”s deportation jail.
More than 100 Eritreans, Ethiopians and Filipinos were gathered for worship in a home in Jeddah’s Al-Rowaise district at 11 o”clock last Friday morning when a group of Saudi police entered the meeting, wooden clubs in hand.
The startled worshippers brought chairs to seat the policemen, who sat and waited for the three-hour worship service to conclude. None used their clubs or physically mishandled the worshippers.
“Actually, some muttawa [Muslim religious police] came to this gathering about two weeks before,” a local source told Compass, “but they did not do anything.”
But after the June 9 weekly praise and prayer service finished, police arrested four leaders of the group: Ethiopian Christians Mekbeb Telahun and Masai Wendewesen, together with Eritrean Christians Fekre Gebremedhin and Dawit Uqbay.
The four were jailed in the Jeddah Terhil (Deportation) Center, where guards have since permitted an acquaintance to bring them all a change of clothes. Three of the men are married; Wendewesen is single.