But then, it seems to be the first time it’s come up in Saudi Arabia…

Saudi Gazette/Okaz report that a Saudi woman has repudiated Islam, converted to Christianity, and then fled the country (although she may have converted after leaving the country). I cannot recall any earlier, similar cases. Nor was I at all expecting Saudi media to cover the story.

Not at all surprising, though, is that the woman’s family is claiming that she was forced to convert and was spirited out of the country by miscreants. Who are now under arrest in the Kingdom. Somewhat surprisingly, the accused – a Saudi and a Lebanese – were granted bail.

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, both for the woman and in Saudi media, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the story disappear, either.

Saudi Christian convert criticizes Islam, Hai’a
Tafeel Al-Yousif | Okaz/Saudi Gazette

AL-KHOBAR – A Saudi girl who recently embraced Christianity and fled the country for refuge in Lebanon, told the host of a religious program on an Arabic TV channel that she was tired of performing prayers and fasting during Ramadan.

The girl, who said her name was Maryam, said praying and fasting did not bring her any benefits. She also criticized the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Hai’a) and claimed that she was raised to hate Judaism and Christianity but fell in love with the religions after she found peace in Christianity.

She said she became a Christian after she had a dream one night. In it, she climbed to the skies and heard God telling her that Jesus is His son. She said that she had been living in the Kingdom since she was 17.

… Maryam’s father filed a complaint against her two former co-workers, a Saudi and a Lebanese, accusing them of helping his daughter illegally flee the Kingdom and embrace Christianity. The Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (BIP) in Al-Khobar accused the men of forcing the girl to convert and arrested them. However, both men were later released on bail while their case has been referred to a court in Al-Khobar.

… The Saudi Embassy in Beirut is coordinating with the concerned authorities in the country to convince the girl to return to the Kingdom. It is expected that the Al-Khobar District Court will look into the case, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, soon.


July:28:2012 - 06:42 | Comments & Trackbacks (24) | Permalink
24 Responses to “Didn’t Expect This…”
  1. 1
    ratherdashing Said:
    July:29:2012 - 09:09 

    … but wait … I thought there was no compulsion in Islam.

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    July:29:2012 - 11:15 

    Nope… no compulsion at all. Oh, look! There’s something shiny over there!

  3. 3
    Jerry M Said:
    July:29:2012 - 12:02 

    I just love Saudi stories, they give very limited information. For example how old is the girl (it is odd that they use the word girl instead of woman). Given that they says she has been living in the kingdom since age 17 that would seem to be an important fact.

    There has to be a lot more to the story such as where she was brought up. I also find it very odd to see a woman described as a Christian wearing a veil over the face. Arab Christians (and those are primarily Syrian or Lebanese) do not cover their faces though they would wear a head covering in church.

  4. 4
    John Burgess Said:
    July:29:2012 - 13:46 

    @Jerry M: I’ve actually seen Syrian Christian women cover their faces when strange men are present. Not in Damascus or Aleppo, perhaps, but definitely in the farther-flung villages.

  5. 5
    Andrew Said:
    July:29:2012 - 16:34 

    I find this to be unsurprising.

    In our nation with a population over 1 million, it would be remarkable if there were not the occasional albeit rare example of such apostasy.

    This is especially true for our expatriate citizens.

    I know of expatriate compatriots who have enthusiastically adopted atheism, and hedonism, so Christianity is not surprising.

    Of course, the social consequences to this lady will likely be severe, with a cession of most familial contact.

    Our society must do more to embrace basic freedoms, including freedom of conscience.

    Indeed, the stifling effects of our clerical establishment make such apostasies more likely, I would argue.

    In a related vein regarding freedom of conscience, I was sent this story

    http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-9052-news-detail-arrested-for-idol-worship.html

    which also involves freedom of conscience.

    There certainly ought not to be governmental compulsion regarding freedom of conscience.

  6. 6
    Aunty May Said:
    July:30:2012 - 06:21 

    @Andrew

    I looked at the link and the opening was:

    “A Sri Lankan youth employed as a domestic aid has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for worshiping a statue of the Buddha, which is considered an offence according to Sharia law”.

    Okay then, if it is against Sharia law then all Muslims that go to Mecca need to be arrested. Why? Because they too worship a black stone called the Kabba. I have been to Mecca and seen these acts with my own eyes!

    …Muslims and the black stone called the Kabba…FACTS
    They…
    1. Kiss it
    2. Salute it
    3. Pray to it
    4. Touch it

    The Prophet kissed it too. Why?

    When one sees people committing such gross acts of idolatry by idolizing such a stone, one cannot help wonder, have these people not read the Quran!!?’ The Quran informs us that Abraham destroyed all the stone that his people were worshipping and said:

    “Do you then worship beside God what possesses no power to benefit you or harm you?” 21:66

    Here is a verse from the Quran:

    “O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and stone idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed” 5:90

    But hold on..Prophet Mohammad kissed the stone, so that makes it alright for all Muslims to follow. Kiss, touch, salute and pray to the Kabba?

    However, the Sri Lankin cannot kneel and pray in-front of a statue, like Muslims do?

    Whatever answers a Muslim gives to justify why they “idolize the kabba”, may they seek to have a clearer understanding of this Sri Lankin praying.

    Muslims… remember the instruction from the Quran:

    “O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and stone idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed” 5:90

    Kabba = stone idol.

    So let the Sri Lankin boy go free .. as those Muslims, who are reading this.

  7. 7
    Sparky Said:
    July:30:2012 - 11:49 

    Aunty May that thought is kalifying :-)

    If one believes their God is omnipotent and he truly IS, one would think that He/ She (sorry folks about the she) would NOT need a God Squad to take out competition.

    I know this is not supposed to be funny, but why I see such humour in it all…is besides me…?!

  8. 8
    Sandy Said:
    July:30:2012 - 13:08 

    @Sparky,
    It’s funny and inaccurate.

  9. 9
    Sparky Said:
    July:30:2012 - 18:00 

    Sandy let’s hear your better or more accurate explanation. It’s all a comedy to me.

    Believe me 18 years in Saudi interacting from everyone from Muslims to Hindus to more than you can imagine including members of the royal family who have explained the difference between white and black magic to me in detail. I’ve heard it all.

  10. 10
    Sandy Said:
    July:31:2012 - 03:42 

    The black stone is not called the Kaaba. Nor is it prayed to. Some muslims kiss, salute and touch it, but it isn’t a requirement of Islam. Nor does that mean they are worshiping an idol. I have kissed, saluted and touched things that I do not worship. The Kaaba is a house of worship, constructed by prophets and the indicator of which direction to pray. The black stone indicates where the circabulation of the Kaaba begins. That’s all.

  11. 11
    Sparky Said:
    July:31:2012 - 08:02 

    Sandy, the manner in which you have described the kabaa is not unlike how many Buddhists or Hindus would explain their statues as merely ‘focal points’ and not God himself or herself.

    Fact: black stone is an uncomfortable subject for Muslim scholars…

    I posit there is more history to it than interested parties want known, but I certainly advocate freedoms as well (even if they includes doing whatever it’s called towards the stone)…much of what humans do is out of pure ignorance.

  12. 12
    Sparky Said:
    July:31:2012 - 08:23 

    I have seen nonhumans circumventing kabaa people literally floating with white eyes. I wish I could say I was joking!

  13. 13
    Andrew Said:
    July:31:2012 - 08:37 

    This is a recent USA report regarding our country:

    http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?dlid=192905

  14. 14
    Dakota Said:
    July:31:2012 - 14:32 

    That’s just plain silly. Buddhists don’t believe Buddha was a god. Don’t they teach any comparative religion in this place? (never mind)

    While the youth is a Buddhist, the charge levelled against him is that he paid obeisance to the Buddha at the house where he was employed.

    And why do they arrest the servant and not the ones who brought in the graven image? (never mind, again)

  15. 15
    Dakota Said:
    July:31:2012 - 14:49 

    Isn’t it the silver thing on the side of the kaaba that they try to touch?
    http://www.crystalinks.com/blackstone.html

  16. 16
    Dakota Said:
    July:31:2012 - 15:15 

    The Sri Lankan embassy is denying the report about the Buddha statue.
    http://www.arabnews.com/lankan-mission-slams-false-report-jailed-maid

  17. 17
    Sparky Said:
    August:01:2012 - 03:32 

    Dakota, a Singaporean devout Muslim friend of mine told me years ago that she believed Buddha was a prophet in all honesty. She used Quranic evidence to back her claim with a verse that Allah has sent many messengers to all the peoples of the earth some mentioned and known and some not known. She went on to say that Buddha much like Jesus (in her opinion) never asked people to worship them. She had studied their teachings. If anyone like you have stated above cared to do the research in comparative religion they would find for example: In Buddha’s basic teaching and tenents nothing is contradictory to Islam believe it or not…and that is from the source! She said, people chose to venerate them much like we see today with Iran’s mullahs and saints etc. or even with human idol worship or with large photos displayed in a showy fashion of leaders as billboards and the like.

    The silver lining on the black stone was made from what I read to protect it as it had been broken into pieces as it was stolen for a while then brought back. I could say more but won’t…Even in the Quran it says do not mock and attack other people’s Gods, beliefs or they will come and do the same to you! Kind of like, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Golden Rule!

  18. 18
    Dakota Said:
    August:01:2012 - 17:31 

    Hah!
    Sri Lankan officials also denied a report by Human Rights Watch back in 2007.

    “Governments in the Gulf expose Sri Lankan domestic workers to abuse by refusing to guarantee a weekly rest day, limits to the work day, freedom of movement and other rights that most workers take for granted,” said Jennifer Turner, a women’s rights researcher at HRW. “The Sri Lankan government welcomes the money these women send home, but does little to protect them from exploitative bosses or labor agents.”

    So the Sri Lankan government said they’d look into it, right?
    ha ha ha ha

    Saudi and Sri Lankan officials swiftly dismissed the charges.

    Are they so desperate for survival they look the other way? “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

    Source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/305660

  19. 19
    Dakota Said:
    August:01:2012 - 17:50 

    Sparky, from what I’ve seen, Moslems typically use only the Koran to study other religions.

    That’s all I’m going to say about it, since I’m a guest here in the Kingdom and I don’t want to be accused of proselyting, even under a pseudonym.

    Sad, isn’t it.

    If you’re really that interested you can check out the biography of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha#Enlightenment and the main teaching of the Eightfold Path to escape the wheel of reincarnation, stop being reborn as a human, and become an enlightened being of pure spirit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path which for some reason they think is a Good Thing.

  20. 20
    Sparky Said:
    August:02:2012 - 02:49 

    That is true that Muslims will study other religions or filter it through the Quran. What I was trying to illustrate with that example is that nothing in Buddhism is contrary or opposing Islam…which is the lens many Muslims will tend to have when looking at other religions (it’s a threat to their own) I was trying to illustrate some Muslims can be a bit more open minded more so than Saudi Muslims who for the most part (at least officially) tend to look at it from a different angle mainly it’s all or nothing.

  21. 21
    Andrew Said:
    August:03:2012 - 09:02 

    Sparky.

    I believe that it is incorrect to say that nothing in Buddhism is contrary to Islam.

    Buddhism is a family of related but at times mutually contradictory ideologies “Buddhisms”, from my study.

    There are, for examples, Buddhisms in which Kuan Yin is worshiped as a goddess — a supernatural being with supernatural powers, just as there are Buddhisms in which Buddha is merely an example of an enlightened human.

    http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/Guan_Yin.htm

    There are Buddhisms that directly contradict Islam as practiced in our country, just as there are Buddhisms that would not as directly contradict our beliefs.

    Yet I believe that this is not to the point.

    The main point should be that our clerical establishment ought not to have governmental authority that allows clerics to deny others basic human rights.

  22. 22
    Sparky Said:
    August:03:2012 - 09:59 

    Andrew, I stand by my original statement in post 17 “In Buddha’s basic teaching and tenents nothing is contradictory to Islam believe it or not” later I went on to explain by contradictory I meant “in opposition to”

    I said Buddha’s teachings…I did not say Buddhism. There’s a big difference there.

    I think there is some Islamic conference coming up in Saudi soon, and I would hope it would include Muslims of all types, shapes, sizes and forms (sects).

    I agree that no one should have authority to take away basic rights.

  23. 23
    Sandy Said:
    August:03:2012 - 15:07 

    I’ve met a handful of Muslims who believe Buddha was likely a prophet.

  24. 24
    Aunty May Said:
    August:03:2012 - 19:19 

    Religion, what is it?
    Is it going to the mosque, a church, the synagogue, or a temple?
    Is it the acceptance of certain ideas devised by a human?
    Is it calling yourself a Muslim, Roman Catholic, a Protestant, a Buddhist, a Jew?

    Religion is living in a way that brings you closer to the Great Spirit, the Infinite Intelligence or what people call God, Allah, Yahweh.

    Religion is when the Great Spirit is expressed in your actions.

    Religion is service to each other.

    Recognize that it is not always easy to abandon the teaching received in childhood, when the mind was plastic and impressionable and accepted without question what was given to it. Gradually these ideas become part of the warp and weft of the subconscious mind, are embedded in its depths, and an individual finds it almost impossible to rid themselves of them.

    Be patient. There is a time when all of us have ideas which we believe(d), but later wisdom prevails, abandoning them. After all, not even the prophets have attained the summit of perfection; to do so will require eternity.

    Be tolerant.

    Help your fellow human. Do not argue with them; that gets nowhere. In such discussion, as the poet said, ‘they leave by the same door by which they came in.’

    Be patient with those who cannot see further than their indoctrinated noses…… Time will work its will with each, as it had with the beloved prophet Yeshwah who told each “to forgive, to love”. If one prays to him or any other prophet, or a stone, this takes away the meaning of all they ever said and did. How tragic is that?

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